Company fined £17,000 after washing machine accident

Environcom was fined �17,000 by the Health and Safety Executive.
Environcom was fined �17,000 by the Health and Safety Executive.
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A TOWN business has been fined £17,000 for health and safety failings after a worker was nearly crushed by washing machines.

Environcom of Spittlegate Level, Grantham, was taken to court on Wednesday by the Health and Safety Executive for two counts of breaching health and safety regulations.

A Health and Safety Executive photograph showing cookers and washing machines stacked up at Environcom.

A Health and Safety Executive photograph showing cookers and washing machines stacked up at Environcom.

The first breach came when a Polish migrant agency worker who has since returned to his home country was walking past washing machines and cookers stacked five or six high when they fell onto him.

HSE Inspector Judith McNulty-Green said: “There was the potential for serious injuries. Such heavy items falling from a height could cause fatal injuries.

“Miraculously the worker was not seriously injured.”

Fortunately, the man, who was taken to Grantham Hospital, suffered only minor injuries and was able to return to work within a matter of days.

The incident happened on September 15, 2009.

As a result of the incident, HSE inspector Judith McNulty-Green visited Environcom three months later to check the situation which led to the accident had been corrected.

However, she found appliances were still being stacked dangerously high.

The company admitted the two breaches. It was fined £7,000 for the incident involving the Polish worker and a further £10,000 after failing to make improvements.

The company must also pay court costs of £5,915.20.

Chair of magistrates Joe Sunner said: “We believe the company fell well below the expected health and safety requirement.”

However, the court also heard how Environcom has since undergone “root and branch” changes at all management levels, including bringing in a new chief executive in Shaun Feeney.

The company now limits the height to which cookers and washing machines can be stacked. It has also built walls around the stacks to prevent any falling machines from hurting anyone.

Mr Watson, defending, told the court standards at the company “had slipped and should have been rectified sooner.

However, he added: “Sometimes when a court has to impose a fine they do impose a fine to get the message across but you can be assured the message has already got through to this company.”