In one Middlesbrough Sainsbury’s store two staff suffered injuries in separate incidents seventeen days apart which left one female shop assistant with a broken bone in her spine after a cage filled with products fell over and trapped her underneath.
The prosecution was brought by Middlesbrough Council after Environmental Health Officers from its Public Protection Service investigated two serious accidents at the Saltersgill Avenue supermarket back in September 2011.
Both Sainsbury’s and the Wincanton Group – the company which operates the distribution centre in Sherburn, near Selby, where the roll cage were packed- both pleaded guilty to wilfully committing an act likely to endanger the health and safety of employees.
Sainsbury’s said it constantly monitors and trains staff on safer working and had added several checks and reminders to ensure roll cages were loaded safely its depots.
Roll Cage Accident
The first accident happened when a fully loaded roll cage moved from the back of a delivery vehicle and fell over knocking a shop assistant to the ground. The incident resulted in a broken bone in her spine and a broken leg. The cage was fully loaded with goods which included tins of dog food and household products which weighed around 340kg.
Katherine Metcalfe, prosecuting on behalf of Middlesbrough Council said “After the roll cage had fallen onto her, there was some difficulty in moving it from on top of her. Three of her colleagues and the delivery driver made an attempt to life the cage but were unable to. Instead, they had to release her by pulling the cage sidewards.”
The second incident happened in the same shop seventeen days later, when a similar roll cage weighing 220kg tipped over and hit a different employee. She escaped being trapped by it but suffered grazes and a sprained wrist.
Sainsbury’s Stores Ltd was charged under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 with failing to provide its staff with a safe way of working when unloading roll cages from delivery vehicles. It also failed to provide staff with suitable and sufficient information, instruction, trailing and supervision for unloading the cages from vehicles.
The distribution company, which filled and supplied the roll cages, was also charged under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 with failing to protect the safety of persons who were not in its employment. Each company was fined £10,000 and each ordered to pay £2,327 towards council costs.
Since the accidents, the Sainsbury’s local store now uses a MasterMover which is a devise which moves loaded roll cages directly from the delivery vehicle tail lift.
Source: The Northern Echo