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National furniture company fined £1m for safety failings

DFS Trading Limited has been fined after safety failings which led to serious neck and head injuries of a worker.

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.

The impact knocked him unconscious and he suffered serious neck and head injuries.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that DFS failed to adequately manage the risks of heavy loads being moved between manufacturing sites. The court heard the company also failed to supervise the work taking place with a number of near misses being reported from unsecured loads.

DFS Trading Limited of Rockingham Way, Redhouse Interchange, Adwick Le Street Doncaster pleaded guilty to breaching sections 3 of the Managing Health and Safety at Work Regulation and also section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and have been fined £1million and ordered to pay costs of £15,099.

Speaking after the case HSE inspector Lyn Spooner said: “DFS is a large national organisation. 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 DFS were unable to do that on this occasion and a preventable accident was allowed to occur.”

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