Bosses at discount supermarket Aldi have been handed a £1 million fine after a delivery driver lost toes in an ‘horrific’ accident at their Somercotes store.
The company pleaded guilty to two health and safety offences following an accident to a delivery driver at the 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 six 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, which has a turnover of £7.7bn from the last financial year, admitted to Derby Crown 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.”
Portfolio holder for housing and public lealth, Councillor David Taylor, said: “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.”
Aldi was also ordered to pay £70,000 in costs.
An Aldi spokesman said: “The safety of our employees and customers is of paramount importance to Aldi. This isolated accident occurred more than three years ago. We are absolutely committed to maintaining health and safety procedures and training that ensure Aldi is a safe place to for our employees and customers.”