Card Factory, who operate 480 stores nationwide and employ around 4500 people must pay out more than £40,000 after health and safety teams found unsafe ladders and nails protruding from shelves at three city stores around Leicester. Sportswift Ltd, the firm behind the Card Factory shops, pleaded guilty to four health and safety breaches and two offences of failing to comply with improvement notices issued by Leicester City Council officers.
In a statement, the council said the case was brought at Leicester Magistrate’s Court after the firm twice failed to take action over problems identified at all three of their city stores. Officers from the council’s health and safety team began investigating the company after what it called a “serious accident” at their Haymarket Centre store in December 2007.
The statement said store manager Lorraine McPhillips fell off a stepladder while re stocking the shop and suffered two breaks to her leg and a crushed knee bone. She needed a metal plate and five bolts inserted into her leg as a result.
The council said health and safety officers visited the site after the incident and found staff had to use damaged or unsuitable step ladders. They also found stockroom floors were uneven and workers had received inadequate training.
The company’s head office was made aware of the problems but the council said a further inspection found that no action had been taken. As a result, seven health and safety improvement notices were issued but the council said, Sportswift Ltd failed to comply and legal action was taken. The firm pleaded guilty and was fined £32,725 and ordered to pay costs totalling £10,597.
Francis Camilleri, Sales Manager at TB Davies said, “This story illustrates to our customers how important it is they ensure the ladders and step ladders in use are fit for purpose and regularly inspected for defects. Consideration should also be given to the level of training and instruction that is given to staff working at height.”