McColl's fined for accidents outside Welsh store

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A £600,000 fine was imposed on convenience store operator Martin McColl Limited for a series of accidents that occurred outside its store in Dinas Powys, Vale of Glamorgan in January 2016.

Cardiff Magistrates Court was told at the hearing, which ended on 22 December 2017, that two elderly members of the public were seriously injured when they had to cross a construction site to enter and leave the convenience store.  The accidents, which happened on consecutive days, resulted in a woman  breaking her wrist, hitting her head and suffering severe bruising, through tripping over construction works; and a second person who fell from the partially constructed ramp causing him to suffer severe bruising and break his collarbone.

Martin McColl Ltd of Ashwells Road, Brentwood, Essex pleaded guilty on the first day of a two day trial after initially pleading not guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, and in addition to the fine was ordered to pay costs of £11,520.

JMS Retail Concepts Limited of Stump Lane, Chorley, Lancashire, a nationwide shop fitting contractor, pleaded guilty to the same charge and was fined £40,000 with costs of £3,038.

Inspector Gemma Pavey of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said: “These incidents could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices.” 

An investigation by the HSE found that construction work was undertaken while the store was open, requiring customers to walk through the construction site to enter and exit the store. The HSE considered that it would have been reasonably practicable to close the store during the construction of the ramp, and install barriers and signs to prevent access by members of the public.

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