IKEA fined after boy has two fingers severed

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IKEA and contractors Liftserve have been fined £75,000 after a two-year-old boy lost two fingers in a horrific accident at the Milton Keynes store in 2007.

The boy had been in the store on March 31, with his parents and sister when he stepped on top the travelator holding on to his dad’s fingers. As it moved down the boy slipped and his index and middle finger were severed after becoming trapped in a small gap – bigger than the 4mm minimum standard.

IKEA had earlier pleaded not guilty to the initial charge – a breach of general duty at work – but changed its plea to guilty on May 14, 2012 therefore eliminating the need for a trial.

Speaking after todays sentencing at Aylesbury Crown Court, Carole Reddish, acting country manager IKEA UK, said: “We are saddened that an incident occurred in our Milton Keynes store in 2007 whereby a young child was injured on an in-store travelator. IKEA’s own investigation and that undertaken by Milton Keynes Council has highlighted a number of important issues which we have acted on, seeking to ensure this type of accident could never happen again.

“Our priority is to provide the safest possible environment for our customers and co-workers and we deeply regret that this accident occurred and that a serious injury was sustained.”

A council spokesman said: “This was an important case to bring as, at the time of this accident, IKEA were in clear breach of health and safety regulations, in particular when it came to the training of staff and the keeping of records.

“This was obviously a very traumatic injury for a young child, just days before his third birthday, but we hope the outcome of today’s court case will help him and his family move on.

“We are pleased to see that IKEA has considerably updated its various working practices, record keeping and other health and safety related systems since the accident in 2007.

“We hope that this case will go a long way towards highlighting the importance to companies of all shapes and sizes of making sure that health and safety in the workplace, for both customers and staff, is a key part of normal, every day business.”

IKEA will have to pay 25 per cent of the fine with Liftserve paying 75 per cent.

The family was awarded damages of an undisclosed amount.