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Shopworker trapped by 340kg trolley.

Byline: Laura Woodcock Reporter

A SUPERMARKET worker was crushed beneath 300kg-worth of goods when a storage trolley fell on her and trapped her underneath, a court heard.

The Sainsbury's Local worker was off-loading an unevenly packed roll cage from a delivery lorry when it toppled over and knocked her to the ground.

It left the woman, a worker at the Saltersgill Avenue in Middlesbrough store, trapped beneath the 40kg cage and the 300kg of goods it was carrying.

She was left with serious injuries, including a broken bone in the base of her spine and a broken bone in her leg.

And at Teesside Magistrates' Court, Sainsbury's and the Wincanton Group - the company which operates the distribution centre in Sherburn, near Selby, where the roll cage was packed - both pleaded guilty to willfully doing an act likely to endanger the health and safety of employees.

The court heard that the Sainsbury's employee was removing the roll cage from the delivery vehicle and off the ramp when the accident happened on September 3, 2011.

"After the roll cage had fallen on to her, there was some diffi-culty in moving it from on top of her," said Katherine Metcalfe, prosecuting on behalf of Middlesbrough Council.

"Three of her colleagues and the delivery driver made an attempt to lift the cage but were unable to.

"Instead, they had to release her by pulling the cage sidewards."

Ms Metcalfe added that the incident had been "distressing" for the woman and her family.

The court also heard that 17 days later, another employee at the same store was carrying out the same task when a roll cage toppled. "Fortunately, she was able to jump out of the way" but still sustained minor injuries.

Since the accident, the Sainsbury's Local store now uses a MasterMover - a device which moves loaded roll cages direct from the delivery vehicle tail lift.

Mr Cooper, defending Sainsbury's, told the court "it is a matter of regret" that they appeared before the court.

"Both defendants do their utmost to manage the risk associated with roll cages."

"In the 18 months prior to December 2011, approximately 2.5m roll cages were moved from Sherburn to stores and in that time there were just 33 incidents of roll cages toppling."

Matthew Snarr, defending the Wincanton Group, told the court that the company undertakes measures to reduce the risk associated with roll cages.

These include setting a maximum weight of 340kg, provide presentations, train the driver and workers in roll cage stability and have marshals to check the way they are packed.

Both companies, which said the injured woman had been "fully compensated", were fined PS10,000 and were each ordered to pay PS2,327.60 in costs and a PS15 victim surcharge.


The Sainsbury's Local store in Saltersgill Avenue where the shopworker was trapped

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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Dec 4, 2014
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