A national furniture company has been fined £1 million for “systemic failings” that resulted in an employee suffering serious head injuries. Derby magistrates’ court heard that on 02 July 2015 the worker was unloading wooden furniture frames at one of their upholstery sites, when he was struck by an unsecured furniture arm which fell from an unstable load, this led to the employee being knocked unconscious by the load and sustained serious head and neck injuries.

The national furniture company pleaded guilty to breaching Health and Safety at Work regulations after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the firm had not sufficiently managed the risks of moving heavy loads between its manufacturing sites.

A ‘preventable accident’

The investigation also found that the company had failed to properly supervise the task that was being undertaken and a number of near misses had previously been reported involving unsecured loads. This was unexpected for a company of this size, the HSE investigators have said.

HSE inspector Lyn Spooner commented;

 “The fundamental and systemic failings identified in their health and safety management systems is far from what would be expected from a company of their size who has the ability to deliver higher standards of safety, unfortunately they were unable to do that on this occasion and a preventable accident was allowed to occur”

A spokesman from the company said;

“The health and safety of our employees is extremely important to us, the employee who was injured in June 2015, is a valued member of our team; we deeply regret the accident he suffered and we are very glad that he is back at work in his previous role. Our skilled crafts people are critical to our success and we are committed to ensuring their health and safety at work”

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