Wholesalers fined over safety breaches

IPSWICH magistrates have fined a wholesale company over health & safety breaches.Self-service wholesale company Makro was ordered by Ipswich magistrates to pay fines and costs totalling more than £6,500 after pleading guilty to breaches of health and safety law at their wholesale outlet on Ransomes Europark, Ipswich.

IPSWICH magistrates have fined a wholesale company over health & safety breaches.

Self-service wholesale company Makro was ordered by Ipswich magistrates to pay fines and costs totalling more than £6,500 after pleading guilty to breaches of health and safety law at their wholesale outlet on Ransomes Europark, Ipswich.

During a prosecution by Ipswich Borough Council on Monday, magistrates heard how on 18th September 2006 managers had failed to safeguard the health and safety of both staff and customers by omitting to cordon off an area of the outlet's sales floor while a forklift truck was used to retrieve stock from high-level storage racking.

Breaking the company's own health and safety rules, this failure to ensure that pedestrians were kept at a safe distance from a working forklift truck was uncovered by the council's occupational health and safety team when environmental health officers were called to the outlet following a serious accident involving the forklift truck.

While retrieving stock stored at high-level in the beers and spirits section of the premises, the forklift truck dislodged a racking beam causing several pallets of cans and bottles to come down on top of the forklift truck.

This resulted in the driver sustaining neck and back injuries requiring hospital treatment.

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Admitting offences under Sections 2 and 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act, Makro also conceded that managers had continued to put staff at risk following the accident by instructing them to clean up the area immediately under the damaged racking despite the risk of further collapse.

In mitigation, Makro highlighted that since the incident the outlet's general manager had received additional health and safety training, and the company had entered into agreement with the council whereby both parties co-operate regularly to review health and safety arrangement across all 33 of the company's UK stores.

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