Frozen food giant Iceland has been fined £2.5 million after a worker fell almost three metres to his death through a ceiling at its Rotherham store.
At a sentencing hearing on Monday at Grimsby Crown Court, it was heard how the contract worker had visited the store on Sycamore Road to replace filters in an air conditioning unit. He fell off the plant platform the unit was located on and through the suspended ceiling.
In Rotherham Council’s investigation into the incident on 28 October 2013, it was found there were no barriers in place to prevent falls from the platform.
The area of the platform immediately in front of the access ladder was just 45cm in width and there were several tripping hazards, including cabling and the fixing points for the ladder itself.
Iceland had also not carried out a risk assessment to consider access to the plant platform either by contractors or their own employees.
Iceland Foods Limited was fined £1.25 million for each offence of breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 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 said: “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,” she added.
Claims put by Iceland that they had intended for a guardrail to be installed around the plant platform were rejected by the prosecution and the court.
Iceland had also contended that they were entitled to rely on the specialist contractors who carried out work on the plant platform to identify the missing handrail; a claim which the court rejected.
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