Asda fined over injury of store worker in freezer

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SUPERMARKET giant Asda has been ordered by a district judge to pay out more than £50,000 after a worker slipped on an icy floor in a storage freezer, seriously hurting his knee.

The Leeds-based firm appeared at Barnsley Magistrates Court for sentencing on Thursday, May 30, after pleading guilty to offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act at a previous hearing held in April.

Barnsley Council took the prosecution against Asda Stores Ltd following the incident, which took place at the supermarket’s Barnsley store in Old Mill Lane in August 2011.

The member of staff, who has not been named, slipped on an ice-covered floor in a storage freezer.

A spokesman for Barnsley Council said: “He sustained injuries to his knee which then required an operation.

“The employee had a number of months off work.

“The investigating environmental health officer had to serve a notice prohibiting the use of the freezer.

“The court heard that employees were left to chip ice off the floor themselves and sweep it away.

“Asda had also not provided adequate protective clothing for their employees who worked in the freezers.”

The company was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay £33,000 in court costs, as well as a £15 victim surcharge.

District Judge Foster, who heard the case at Barnsley Magistrates Court, said that Asda had “inadequate systems in place” and there were “unacceptable delays” in identifying problems.

In mitigation, Asda stated that since the incident it had spent £31,000 on repairs to the storage freezer.

Coun Roy Miller, Barnsley Council’s cabinet spokesman for development, environment and culture, said yesterday: “This case was a serious breach of health and safety legislation by a large company, resulting in injury.

“Barnsley Council has a duty to investigate injuries and will take appropriate action to ensure that all the borough’s employers operate a safe working environment for their staff.

“Employers must have effective systems in place to prevent accidents and injuries to their employees and where equipment and process are provided the employees must use them.”

Nobody was available to comment from Asda yesterday.