Aldi fined £1m after Health and Safety breaches

Aldi Stores Ltd have been fined £1 million and ordered to pay £70,000 costs, following a prosecution brought by Amber Valley Borough Council over Health and Safety breaches at their Somercotes store.

Aldi pleaded guilty at Derby Crown Court, on 14 July, to two offences relating to Health and Safety breaches following an accident to a delivery driver at their store on Nottingham Road, in November 2013.

The conviction follows a lengthy investigation by Amber Valley Borough Council’s Regulation Unit.

In his second week of a new job delivering goods to stores, a driver sustained severe foot injuries, while using a powered pallet truck. Aldi relied on new drivers shadowing other drivers before they started working alone and did not have in place a standardised training programme to make sure drivers had the necessary skills to operate equipment.

The injuries sustained by the driver included fractures to all of his toes on his left foot, resulting in two of them having to be surgically amputated. The injured man’s foot had to be reconstructed using wires and he was off work for nearly 6 months. Although the injured party has returned to work for Aldi, his injuries have left him with pain that will have repercussions in years to come and can be considered life-changing.

Aldi Stores Ltd, who have a turnover of £ 7.7bn (last financial year), admitted to the Court that the training provided by them should have been more structured and formal.

Judge Peter Cooke in in his summing up acknowledged that Aldi Stores Ltd should have revised the training given to drivers sooner, following previous incidents in the company.

The Council’s lead investigating officer, Julia Cope said: “This accident resulted in very nasty injuries to a driver who had been asked to carry out work using equipment for which his employer had failed to provide structured and necessary formal training.”

The Council’s Portfolio Holder for Housing and Public Health, Cllr David Taylor, commented: “Council Officers worked hard on this investigation, over many months, and found Aldi’s training ought to have had a more formal structure. The level of fine reflects the seriousness of the failings within the company. This investigation and outcome will hopefully result in a renewed focus by Aldi to ensure that standards are maintained to ensure employees receive adequate protection from the risk of injury.” 

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