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Poundstretcher safety ‘appalling’

Tom Wall08/05/2013 - 13:00

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The chain put staff and customers at risk
The chain put staff and customers at risk

A magistrate has criticised cut price chain Poundstretcher’s safety record after it was fined £60,000 for putting customers and staff at risk in Newbury.

The retailer was prosecuted last month in Reading Magistrates Court after it ignored repeated warnings including an improvement notice issued almost two years ago that its store was dangerously over stocked.

EHOs from West Berkshire Council found emergency exits were blocked and stock was piled so high it was hazardous for customers and staff during inspections carried out between July 2011 and March 2012.

Poundstretcher pleaded guilty to four health and safety offences. It was fined £60,000 and was ordered to pay £5,965 in prosecution costs to the council.

The magistrate said Poundstretcher had shown a ‘blatant disregard for the law’ and ‘the safety of its staff and customers’.

‘It has an appalling record showing a number of similar offences,’ said the magistrate.

The magistrate noted that: ‘We are of the opinion that the issues being experienced by the Newbury branch and the fact that they were dealt with in the short term demonstrates an awareness of the issues at the highest level in the company, and that there was a reckless disregard for health and safety on the shop floor.’

In April, Poundstretcher was fined £48,000 for obstructing aisles, stairs, fire exits and failing to provide personal protective equipment for its staff in three stores by New Forest District Council. Magistrates said the firm had not taken sufficient notice of warnings and advice provided by the council.

Poundstretcher was fined £12,000 in October 2012 after products were stored on stairs and walkways in its Grimsby store. Again a notice was ignored.

It was fined £26,800 in November 2011 for failing to keep walkways clear and ignoring an improvement notice in its Doncaster store.

In November 2010, Poundstretcher was fined £51,500 for blocking exits and emergency routes at Huddlefield store in Yorkshire, which was branded a ‘death trap’ by the judge.

Poundstretcher was also prosecuted by West Berkshire Council in 2007 for health and safety offences arising from overstocking another store in Newbury.

Poundstretched was contacted by EHN but declined to comment.

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2024 days ago
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I take your point about type of premises but given this particular chain has been identified nationally as a poor performer and does not have a H&S Primary Authority arrangement, if your local intelligence would mirror the national picture then I can see nothing in the code preventing inspection.

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2066 days ago
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Under the forthcoming National Enforcement Code, unless there has been a rethink based upon the consultation responses received up until 1st March, this type of premises could well be excluded from proactive inspection as it is considered a 'low risk premises' or by virtue of it being a national chain.....

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