Morrisons has been fined £3.5 million after the death of an epileptic employee.
The supermarket giant has been found guilty of three health and safety offences after the incident in September 2014.
27-year-old Matthew Gunn suffered severe head injuries after he suffered a seizure and fell from a stairway at a store in Gloucestershire.
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The store was found guilty by a Gloucester Crown Court jury after initially contesting three health and safety offences.
The business subsequently conceded a fourth offence before the trial.
The court heard how Mr.Gunn died three-and-a-half months after his mother had told managers her son suffered regular seizures.
Prosecutor Richard Atkins KC said Morrisons should have moved Mr. Gunn’s locker to the bottom floor and prevented him from accessing the stairs because it was aware of his health issues,
He said: “The defendant knew of the risk posed by the stairs to Matthew Gunn,”
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“Many in the management were aware of the frequency of the tonic-clonic seizures and the prosecution submits that by the time of the fatal failings on September 25, 2014, there was a highly likely high level of harm occurring.”
Richard Matthews KC, defending, said he would address the court on the sentencing guidelines which were “cold and widely removed from the human tragedy that this case concerns”.
“Nothing that I say in that cold way is intended to remove anything from that tragedy,” he added.
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Judge Moira Macmillan said: “Matthew was forced to use the stairs at least eight times a day for each of his breaks as he had to keep his cigarettes in his locker.
“Morrisons, as Matthew’s employers, have a duty to ensure his health and safety.
“The jury decided that using the stairs for the amount of times he did, was a contributory factor to his death.
“The company failed to carry out a risk assessment. Morrisons fell short of the standards expected for somebody suffering from epilepsy.”
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She said: “Morrisons, in failing to move Matthew’s locker downstairs, is indisputable. The company failed to treat him as an individual and make appropriate changes. I accept that the risks were specific to Matthew.”
That comes at a time when Morrisons is facing criticism and pressure to sign an animal welfare policy to improve its circumstances for animals after allegedly “refusing” to do so.
Source: Grocery Gazette
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