Ikea fined £100,000 after unguarded roof-top fan sliced worker’s fingers | Health and Safety at Work

Robert Preston

The UK division of global furniture retailer Ikea has been fined £100,000 after a worker lost part of two fingers during maintenance work on a roof-mounted fan at its Bristol store.

The incident, at the city’s Eastgate Shopping Centre on 21 November 2016, was investigated and prosecuted by Bristol City Council. 

A maintenance engineer was checking a fault on a fan located on the roof of the building when the accident occurred.

Council health and safety officers found that the fan and eight others on the roof were not guarded, while no risk assessment or training had been undertaken for the task.

In addition, there was no adequate risk assessment in place for fault-finding or maintenance work of this kind, and the engineer had received no health and safety training from Ikea for this work.

On 3 October, Ikea’s UK division pleaded guilty at Bristol Magistrates’ Court to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act. 

The company was fined £100,000 and was ordered to pay costs of £6,407 to Bristol City Council.

Senior managers from Ikea were in court for the hearing, according to the council. 

A letter from a board member was read out which expressed remorse for the incident and said that the lessons learned from this case been shared throughout the business.

Councillor Kye Dudd, cabinet member for energy, waste and regulatory services at Bristol City Council, said: “The health and safety of employees should be a top priority for every employer.

“We take reports of breaches very seriously and where appropriate we will investigate claims of poor practice.”

During the investigation, the council served an improvement notice requiring Ikea to put in place safety precautions to prevent injury from fans and other machinery.

These works have since been carried out, according to the council.

Ikea Group operates 355 stores in 29 countries, while Ikea UK operates 20 stores and five distribution centres.

According to accounts filed at Companies House, in the financial year to 31 August 2017 Ikea’s UK operations reported turnover of £1.81bn and a profit before tax of £87m.

In March 2012, Ikea’s UK business was fined £80,000 over another accident at its Bristol store. A warehouse employee broke his arm and dislocated his shoulder after falling from a forklift truck when its mast collided with a horizontal racking beam. 

The retailer appeared at Bristol Magistrates’ Court, where it pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act as well as Regulations 3, 5 and 10 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations.

Ruth Cuzner