B&Q in Exeter admits safety breaches

Published:  23 February, 2012

EXETER: DIY chain B&Q has admitted breaking health and safety laws after two accidents involving forklift trucks at its stores in Exeter.

One employee suffered head injuries, a broken arm, leg and ankle, and a forklift truck hit another.

The accidents took place at the chain's Alphington Road store in May 2010 and its Sowton store in June 2010, Exeter magistrates heard.

The case has been adjourned to the city's crown court for sentencing.

The court heard that in the first incident, employee Steve Durrant was directing the driver of a forklift truck when he was hit on the head by a rack on the forklift and then by a load of topsoil on the rack.

In the second accident, a forklift truck hit driver Andrew White when he was delivering at Sowton. The court heard that White might never walk properly again.

Ian Dixie for Exeter City Council that brought the prosecution said that although the firm had generic health and safety guidance, it had no system to monitor what happened at a local level.

Jon Cooper for B&Q, which admitted four health and safety offences, said with 650 stores and 32,000 employees it would be "inappropriate to brand them as bad with regard to health and safety". He said the firm regretted the offences very much.

Chairman of the Bench Sheila Rumsby, said there were "systematic failures at B&Q to ensure the effective implementation of health and safety at a local level".

Sentencing will take place at Exeter Crown Court on 22 March.

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