A NATIONAL shop chain faces a £20,000 court bill after one of its employees broke a hip in a fall at its Coney Street store in York.

York Magistrates Court heard she was working on July 6, 2013, in a crowded storage area behind the Poundworld shop where the floor covering was broken and dangerous and caught her foot in some trailing polythene.

Joseph Ghirardello, prosecuting for City of York Council, said its officers were called in to investigate the accident and discovered the store had known the floor surface was bad for seven months beforehand and had done nothing about it.

They served an improvement notice on the store’s management to get the floor repaired in seven days, but failed to do so.

Poundworld, based in Foxbridge Way on Normanton industrial Estate, Normanton, West Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to four charges of failing to ensure the safety of its employees committed between November 2012 and November 2013 and contravening an improvement notice in September 2013. 

Poundworld Retail Ltd was fined £19,000, and ordered to pay £1,820.22 towards the prosecution costs and a £120 statutory surcharge.

For the company, Mark Owen said it no longer used the back area for storing goods.  It had safety policies in place regarding the reporting of accidents, but  the shop had had a high turnover of staff and management  leading up to the accident which meant that  reports were not followed up as they should have been.

The floor had been repaired a week after the last date of the improvement notice.

Neither the prosecution nor the defence lawyer mentioned the employee’s current medical state and whether she still worked for the company.

The company’s managing director, Chris Edwards said after the case: “Our first priority is that of our staff and their health and safety is of the up most importance to us.

"This incident is an isolated one yet none the less extremely concerning to us and as such we have launched a full internal investigation and review in to our health and safety practises to ensure that this does not happen again.”

Cllr Tracey Simpson-Laing, deputy council leader, said after said: “This was a serious case of health and safety breaches and it is disappointing that even after a member of staff suffered a broken hip the company did not make immediate improvements."