Wilko’s failure to act on warnings from staff and maintenance engineers that a goods lift at a Leicester shop was not correctly levelling with the floor has cost the firm £2.2m after an employee was left paralysed when a roll cage fell on her.
The retail giant was prosecuted by Leicester City Council after the heavily laden metal cage, used to move stock around the store, toppled over a ledge that was created when the lift stopped at a slightly lower level than the floor.
The cage fell over as part time employee Corisande Collins (below) manoeuvred it out of the doors, crushing her beneath hundreds of litres of paint tins. She sustained severe spinal injuries and now has to use a wheelchair.
Leicester Crown Court heard on 11 January that the 1.7m roll cage was incorrectly loaded; that employees were not provided with adequate training or supervision on how to use or stack the metal cages safely; and that the Beaumont Shopping Centre store (above) failed to tailor generic, national risk assessments to local requirements.
Govind Mandora, Leicester council’s public safety team manager, told Health and Safety at Work that Wilko had been warned a number of times about the lift not levelling, including warnings from manager and from a firm of engineers carrying out an examination under the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER).
“This was not the first time that the lift didn’t level and something happened. Wilko was aware that staff had complained that it wasn’t levelling. The lift engineers had given advice as to what kind of things Wilko should be doing.”