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UK Supermarket Accidents News

Company Fined for Fall through Roof Accident at Sainsburys

March 5, 2015

Magistrates in Westminster have fined a Derbyshire company for safety failings which resulted in a fall through roof accident at Sainsburys in Wandsworth.

On 8th August 2013, James Whelan (31) from Wimbledon in Surrey was working for a scaffolding subcontractor on a project to extend the Sainsburys supermarket in Wandsworth, West London. As he walked along an area linking the roof space of the existing store with the new extension, he stepped on a section of plasterboard which he assumed was covering the secure walkway.

Unfortunately the fragile material snapped under his weight, and James fell seven metres through a suspended ceiling – landing on a stairway. James was rushed to hospital, where he underwent treatment for a fractured spine, fractured pelvis, four broken ribs and a bruised lung.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched an investigation into the fall through roof accident at Sainsburys and discovered that more could have been done to mitigate the chances of a fall – such as providing stronger covers over or beneath fragile materials and properly securing the integrity of the walkway with guard rails.

Bowmer and Kirkland Ltd – the subcontractor for whom James was working – was prosecuted by the HSE for a single breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 which led to the fall through roof accident at Sainsburys. The Derbyshire-based company pleaded guilty to the charge, but said that they had tried to mitigate the risk of an accident by restricting access to the walkway.

Magistrates fined the company £6,000 and order it to pay a further £1,428 in costs, after which HSE Inspector Gavin Pugh said: “The hazards presented by fragile surfaces and open edges are clear, and it is common knowledge that falls from height account for almost half of all deaths and serious injuries on construction sites. As such, companies like Bowmer & Kirkland should be fully aware of what needs to be done to adequately protect workers”.

“The safety standards surrounding the walkway and fragile area fell some way short on this occasion, and it could have cost the scaffolder his life. He suffered painful injuries that still cause him pain and discomfort, but he could just as easily have been killed.”

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Death of Shopper Linked to Roll Cage Accident in Tesco

October 16, 2014

The death of a 90-year-old great grandmother has been linked with a roll cage accident in Tesco after a hearing at Bradford Coroner´s Court.

Esther Payne from Steeton in West Yorkshire was finalising her pre-Christmas shopping at the Tesco store in Ilkley when, on December 21st, she was hit by a roll-cage trolley full of beauty products that was being manoeuvred through the store by a Tesco employee.

Esther fell and broke her left hip and was taken to the local Airedale Hospital where she underwent surgery to pin her hip. Unfortunately Esther´s health deteriorated and she died on January 3rd from a heart attack.

An inquest into Esther´s death was held at the Bradford Coroner´s Court, where Esther was described as being fit and “feisty” for her age. The court heard medical evidence that one-in-ten elderly patients with injuries similar to Esther´s die within a month, and three-in-ten die within a year.

Assistant Coroner Dominic Bell questioned Tesco’s group safety director Stephen Purser about the company´s policies for the manoeuvring of roll-cage trolleys, and was assured that “the instruction when using a roll cage is to pull, not push it.”

However, according to evidence provided by Bradford Council´s health and safety investigator – Jane Bradbury – staff were pushing the roll-cage trolleys contrary to Tesco´s in-house policy when she made a visit to the supermarket.

Ms Bradbury told the inquest that she had requested to see CCTV footage of the roll cage accident in Tesco, but was told that the accident had occurred in a blind spot and all of the store´s eight cameras had missed it.

Assistant Coroner Dominic Bell and Tesco´s barrister Emily Formby explained to the jury that the lack of CCTV footage and eyewitnesses to the roll cage accident in Tesco made it impossible to establish the cause of the accident.

The jury was also told that it was not the role of the inquest to attribute blame, but to ascertain the cause of death. The jury subsequently reached the conclusion that while Esther´s death was due to a heart attack, complications had arisen due to the roll cage accident in Tesco.

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Woman Recovering from Life Threatening Injuries in Shopping Centre Accident

June 6, 2014

An elderly woman is recovering from life threatening injuries in a shopping centre accident due to tripping over an uneven surface and falling through the window of a hairdresser´s shop.

Helen Lyons (81) was on her way to a regular hairdressing appointment at Hazel Cleland Hair in the St Helens Place Shopping Centre, Armadale, West Lothian, when she tripped over a raised paving slab outside of the shop and fell towards the window of the shop.

As Helen hit the window of the hairdressers, the glass shattered, and a large shard of glass pierced Helen´s neck. Fortunately the owner of the hairdressing shop and the adjacent greengrocers acted quickly and applied pressure to the injury to prevent Helen bleeding to death.

Paramedics quickly arrived and rushed Helen to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary where she is now recovering from her life-threatening injuries in the shopping centre accident.

The uneven paving slab on which Helen tripped is one of 200 hexagonal paving slabs which interlock to form the floor surface in St Helens Place, and business owners commented after the accident that they have complained about the uneven slabs many times previously.

One of the greengrocers who came to Helen´s rescue – Derek Thomson – said that Helen´s accident was inevitable considering that many of the hexagonal slabs are raised on one side by more than an inch. Mr Thomson said he had witnessed a number of people tripping and falling over the uneven slabs as they pass through the shopping area.

A spokesperson for West Lothian council said that they were aware of Helen´s injuries in the shopping centre accident, but had no specific complaints about the state of the paving in the area where Helen´s accident took place.

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Woman to Receive Supermarket Compensation for Shopping Trolley Accident

September 25, 2013

A woman in America has been awarded $9.9 million in compensation for a shopping trolley accident after developing a neurological condition following an accident in Costco.

Rose Nudelman (52) from Brooklyn in New York was shopping at her local Costco supermarket with her husband in 2009 when she rolled her loaded shopping trolley onto the up escalator which was equipped with a mechanism to prevent the trolley rolling back down the slope in accordance with the forces of gravity.

While the couple were travelling up the escalator, the shopping trolley came loose and struck Rose with force and, although she did not seem to have experienced any immediate physical injuries, Rose and her husband had the good sense to register a record of the accident with the supermarket before they left.

However, within two weeks of the accident, Rose started to experience head pains and had to use a cane to support herself when she walked. Rose sought medical advice and was diagnosed with the neurological condition known as “Complex Regional Pain Syndrome”.

After seeking legal advice, Rose made a claim for compensation for a shopping trolley accident against Costco, who denied their liability for her injuries and suggested that her condition was being exaggerated to claim compensation retrospectively for the supermarket accident.

Nonetheless, Rose pursued her claim, and last week a jury found Costco liable for her injury and awarded her $9.9 million in compensation for a shopping trolley accident in a supermarket. Costco have already said that they intend to appeal, but Rose´s solicitor commented “There is no one you or I know who would change places with Ms Nudelman for any amount of money,”

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Supermarket Accident Compensation Agreed in Claim for Tripping in Morrisons

November 27, 2012

A woman, who successfully appealed a court decision that she was equally at fault for the injuries she suffered when she fell over in a supermarket, has been award £44,000 in supermarket accident compensation for her claim for tripping in Morrisons.  

Jean Palfrey (79) from Cornwall sustained bad injuries to her arms and shoulders when she tripped over a low-loading trolley which was being used to take goods into her nearby Morrisons supermarket in Tavistock, Cornwall in November 2008. The injuries she suffered were so severe that she was forced to remain in hospital for three months with breaks to both humerus bones and was unable to conduct everyday household tasks for a further two years. She stills takes painkilling tablet to ease the pain she feels regularly and one of her arms is now shorter than the other one.

Last week Jean’s solicitors successfully appealed the original decision in her injury claim for falling in Morrisons – that she was equally at fault for the injuries she suffered as she had admitted seeing the trolley before she misjudged where she was walking and fell over it – after Lord Justice Moses said ”Shoppers walking up and down aisles in supermarkets are expected to be attracted by what is on the shelves and do not expect to have to look towards the ground”.

Nonetheless, Lord Justice Moses agreed with legal representatives from Morrisons that they were not entirely at fault for Jean´s accident, and allocated her 20 percent contributory negligence – thus reducing the award of supermarket accident compensation agreed between the two parties in settlement of Jean´s claim for tripping in Morrisons from £55,000 to £44,000.

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Grape Slip in Shop Compensation Award Upheld in High Court

July 3, 2012

A female, who slipped on grapes which had fallen from a display outside a shop and injured her two wrists in her resulting fall, has had her claim for grape slip in shop compensation upheld in the High Court.

Samira Hassan (57) from Greenford, Middlesex, took the grape slip in shop compensation action against shopkeeper Onkar Singh Gill (50) following her accident in 2005. While looking at the fruit display on tables outside Mr Gill´s “The Stall” shop in Greenford Road, Samira slipped on grapes which had fallen from the display and fractured both her wrists.

After seeking legal advice, Samira made a claim for grape slip in shop compensation, claiming that the grapes on which she slipped were “mushy” and that the staff at Mr Gill´s shop had failed in their duty of care to the public. Mr Gill argued the compensation case – insisting that his staff had taken all reasonable steps to keep the pavement clear of debris – a County Court judge last year ruled that Mr Gill was liable for Samira´s injuries and ordered him to pay 111,859 pounds in compensation for slipping on a grape.

Mr Gill appealed the initial ruling but, at London´s High Court, Lord Justice Lloyd – sitting with Mr. Justice Morgan and Sir Stephen Sedley – upheld the County Court´s ruling and order that Samira should be in receipt her full settlement of compensation in respect of her claim for grape slip in shop compensation.

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Shopping Centre Accident Claims Mount Up at Highcross

June 29, 2012

Highcross Shopping Centre in Leicester is establishing a reputation as the most hazardous shopping centre in England, with four more shopping centre accident claims having been made since Gweneth Bowler successfully sued the shopping centre in December 2011 after fracturing her shoulder due to a slip on a wet floor.

Earlier this month, an anonymous Leicestershire woman was awarded 3,700 pounds after slipping and breaking her ankle on the same access bridge between the shopping centre car park and the John Lewis store, while three claims remain outstanding due to slip injuries suffered in the shopping centre car park.

During Gweneth Bowler´s compensation hearing in December, a Leicester City Council health and safety official had testified that the bridge´s surface represented a slip danger due to poor drainage and inadequate cleaning. The recommendations made by the council – including the improving of the drainage system in the car park lot – were put into place earlier this year and no accidents have subsequently been reported.

Despite Highcross accepting liability for the two resolved shopping centre accident claims, no comment was available on the outstanding claims for shopping centre injury compensation – including a serious injury to a 40 year-old female shopper who required emergency surgery for a broken femur after a slip in the shopping centre car park.

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Moving Walkway Fall Injury Compensation after Accident in Supermarket

June 29, 2012

A seventy-nine year old woman, who broke her shoulder in three places after a fall on the moving walkway at the Dunnes Store in Dublin´s Ashleaf Shopping Centre, has been awarded 30,000 Euros travelator fall injury compensation.

Rosaleen Hill of Terenure, Dublin, had been shopping at the Dunnes Store on 23rd March 2009 and was returning to the underground car park on a moving walkway, when the trolley she was using ran away from her. Attempting to maintain her hold on the trolley, Rosaleen slipped and was dragged along the surface of the moving walkway – breaking her right shoulder and badly lacerating her knee.

After receiving medical treatment for her injuries, Rosaleen made a compensation claim for moving walkway fall injury compensation against Dunnes Stores, Gary Smith, trading as The Ashleaf Shopping Centre and Kessow Limited which runs the centre, alleging that the three defendants were negligent in providing a shopping trolley which was unsafe to use.

However, at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin, Judge Jacqueline Linnane threw out the case against Dunnes after a forensic engineer gave evidence that the shopping trolleys used by Dunnes were fitted with corrugated rubber wheels that locked into the groves on the travelator, restricting the travel speed. The judge heard that the trolley which was at fault for Rosaleen´s injuries was fitted with smoothed wheels and had possibly been placed in the trolley area by shopfitters working in the shopping centre.

Both Gary Smith, operating as The Ashleaf Shopping Centre and Kessow Limited were found jointly negligent and directed by Judge Jacqueline Linnane to pay Rosaleen 30,000 Euros in travelator fall injury compensation after hearing Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon Paul Nicholson describe Rosaleen´s shoulder injuries as notoriously painful.

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Argos Fall Compensation Awarded for Shoulder Injury

June 9, 2012

A customer who slipped and fell on an unattended wet wipe in Argos, hurting his shoulder in the process, has been awarded 17,500 Euros fall in Argos compensation at Dublin´s Circuit Civil Court.

Declan Conroy had been shopping at the Ilac Centre branch of Argos in May 2008 when the accident occurred. While in the queue for the counter to order a lawnmower for his mother, he slipped on a wet wipe which had been left on the floor and fell – severely damaging his shoulder.

After receiving medical treatment, Declan registered a claim for Argos fall compensation against the store – claiming that their method of checking the store for potential hazards was negligent and he had suffered an injury as a result.

Argos denied liability for Declan´s injury; arguing that CCTV footage showed the presence of the wet wipe just six minutes before Declan´s accident and arguing that staff could not be requested to constantly monitor the condition of the floor surface in such a historically low-risk store.

However, a forensic scientist – testifying on behalf of Declan – outlined that because of the extra footfall in the queuing area where Declan´s incident occurred, a higher level of vigilance should be used. It was also shown in court that CCTV footage showed a woman moving a baby buggy through the area five minutes before the wet wipe first appeared on camera.

Judge Jacqueline Linnane determined that, in all likelihood, it was the woman with the baby buggy who was to blame for dropping the wet wipe and, as more than ten minutes would have went by between the hazard being present and Declan sustaining his injury, she was ruling that Argos was liable.  Declan was awarded 17,500 Euros for fall in Argos fall compensation plus costs.

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Girl Receives Compensation for Faulty Shop Display Injury

June 5, 2012

An 11-year-old girl, who cut her leg badly on a stand displaying cakes in Dunnes Stores, has had her compensation settlement for faulty shop display injury approved at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin.

The court was told how Jade Earls from Bray, County Wicklow, had been in the Cornelscourt Shopping Centre in Dublin on July 16, 2010. As she passed by a cake display, Jade caught her leg on rusty nails exposed on a piece of wood which was hanging down from the stand.

Judge Alan Mahon was advised that Jade suffered a ten centimetre abrasion and a four centimetre laceration which – although it had got better – resulted in a permanent scar on her left leg. Through her mother – Fidelma – Jade filed a claim for fauly shop display injury compensation against the shop and the company responsible for the cake display stand – ABF Grain products of Grosvenor Street, London.

The judge was also told that Dunnes Stores and ABF Grain Products had admitted liability for Jade´s injury on a 60/40 basis, and that an offer of accident compensation for faulty shop injury amounting to 12,000 Euros plus legal expenses had been offered, which the family were willing to accept.

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