Page last updated at 13:05 GMT, Tuesday, 3 February 2009

M&S fined 20,000 over lost toe

M&S store exterior
The firm has never been prosecuted before for health and safety breaches

Marks and Spencer has been fined 20,000 after a worker lost part of his toe in a warehouse accident.

Milton Keynes Magistrates' Court heard Timothy Payne was using a goods-only scissor lift in March 2007.

The rising lift trapped Mr Payne's left foot, crushing it, and the tip of the big toe had to be amputated.

The firm admitted breaches of health and safety rules - its first such prosecution in 100 years of trading, the court heard.

Marks and Spencer pleaded guilty to contravening to sections 2(1) and 33(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 at its warehouse in Milton Keynes.

The maximum fine at a magistrates court of 20,000 was imposed and the firm was ordered to pay prosecution costs of 11,113.

A total of 31,128 compensation has been agreed with the victim.

Environmental health officers from Milton Keynes Council visited the warehouse and discovered that "riding" the lift, which is designed only to lift goods, was common practice and management was aware of this failing.

Magistrate chair Marie Brock said the company's risk assessment and signage was not good enough.

The court heard there had been a failure at local level to follow procedures.

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