Poundstretcher to pay £79k over “disaster waiting to happen”
Discount retailer Poundstretcher has been sentenced for breaching health and safety regulations at a Lincolnshire warehouse, where an environmental health inspector found poor lighting, trip hazards and a risk of stock falling from height. The firm was prosecuted for similar breaches at the same premises in 2011.
Conditions at the warehouse in Stamford were a “disaster waiting to happen”, Lincoln Crown Court was told.
The latest problems were spotted on a visit to the warehouse by an environmental health inspector from South Kesteven District Council on 6 June last year that was prompted by an employee raising concerns about overstocking levels and boxes blocking fire exits.
At the time, the store manager admitted overstocking was a problem but said she did not have the power to refuse deliveries.
Two improvement notices were served on Poundstretcher with which the company cooperated and immediately complied.
Court recorder Stephen Lowne said it was a “miracle” no member of staff had either been hit or submerged by stock at the warehouse.
“The risks were so obvious it was astonishing it was allowed to get to this stage,” he said.
“It is a disaster waiting to happen.”
Poundstretcher Ltd admitted two contraventions of health and safety regulations and one breach of duty to employees. The company was fined £65,000 and ordered to pay almost £14,000 in costs.
The company has said that it has since made changes to procedures. Speaking after the hearing Martin Collinson, Company secretary for Poundstretcher, said: “We totally accept the judge’s comments, this was totally unacceptable for our staff, customers and the public, but there was no financial benefit to the company for the conditions in this store.
“Our health and safety manager has now revamped our policy throughout our whole estate.”
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