University student paralysed while working at household goods store
A 20-year-old university student has been left paralysed and using a wheelchair, following an incident while working part-time at a Wilko store in Leicester.
Corisande Collins was struggling to remove a metal cage out of a lift due to an uneven lift floor, when it fell over onto her, causing spinal injuries. The incident occurred in August 2013, when Collins was studying at Northampton University towards a Special Educational Needs degree.
Initially, the student spent a number of weeks in Walsgrave Hospital in Coventry, before being transferred to Sheffield to spend time rehabilitating at a specialist unit for spinal injuries. In December 2013, Collins was discharged from hospital, and returned to university, but has to rely on a wheelchair.
Wilko Retail Ltd pleaded guilty to breaches of the health and safety regulations on four counts. The court was told that the cage had not been loaded correctly, as it was top heavy, increasing the chances that it would fall over. The court also heard that the lift floor wasn't level with the shop floor, making it difficult to remove the rolling cage. The store had failed to provide training on the use of rolling cages and how to use the lifts correctly. In addition, risk assessments had not been conducted, failing to spot potential hazards. The company was fined £2.2 million and ordered to pay costs of £70,835.
Employers are required to protect staff from harm in the workplace, which often involves the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and provision of training.