Posted: Wed 20th Sep 2017

Deeside based Iceland Foods fined £2.5m following death of man working on a store in Rotherham

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Sep 20th, 2017

Deeside based Iceland Foods has been fined £2.5 million over the death of a man who fell through a ceiling of a store he was working on.

Tony Hopkins from Silsden in West Yorkshire was working at the firm’s Rotherham store when he fell from a platform while working on air-conditioning units.

Iceland said Mr Hopkins’ death in October, 2013, was “a terrible tragedy for which we can only express the utmost regret”.

Iceland Foods was fined £2.5 million at a sentencing hearing at Grimsby Crown Court.

The charges were brought by Rotherham Council following a fatal accident at Iceland’s store on Sycamore Road, Rotherham, on 28 October 2013.

Mr Hopkins visited the store to replace filters within an air conditioning unit which was located on a plant platform above a suspended ceiling in the store’s warehouse.

The contract worker fell almost three metres from the platform and through the suspended ceiling, sustaining fatal injuries.

An investigation by Rotherham Council environmental health officers found issues including no barriers in place to prevent falls from the platform.

 

Further investigations revealed that Iceland Foods Limited had not carried out a risk assessment to consider access to the plant platform either by contractors or their own employees.

Iceland argued that they had intended for a guardrail to be installed around the plant platform and had in fact paid for one during the refurbishment of the store.

In court Iceland contended that they were entitled to rely on the specialist contractors who carried out work on the plant platform to identify the missing handrail. These claims were rejected by the prosecution and the court.

The company was fined £1.25 million for each offence and ordered to pay the full costs of £65,019.64 to Rotherham Council.

Cllr Emma Hoddinott, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Waste, Roads and Community Safety;

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Mr Hopkins family; everyone should expect their loved one to return from work safely.

I would like to thank the council staff for bringing this case to court and getting the answers needed in these tragic circumstances.”

Karen Hanson, Assistant Director for Community Safety and Street Scene, added that the case highlighted the importance of companies considering not only their own employees but the work of contractors as part of their health and safety arrangements.

“All businesses should be aware of the importance of health and safety – particularly for high-risk activities such as working from heights,” she said.

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