Co-op Group fined £400,000 after man slips in leaked water and dies

Stanley May, 74, died after hitting his head when he fell in the retailer's store in Truro, Cornwall

The Co-op Group has been fined £400,000 over the death of a man who slipped on water leaking from a faulty  chiller unit.

Stanley May, 74, died two days after hitting his head on the floor in the retailer’s Truro branch in July 2015.

Truro Crown Court heard the sandwich chiller had been faulty for 44 hours but customers could still enter the wet area. Engineers has tried to fix it, but it continued to leak onto the floor, affecting the area beyond a yellow ‘wet floor’ sign which had been put in place.

The Co-op previously pleaded guilty to a Health and Safety offence of failing to protect customers.

Judge Simon Carr said what happened was “so easily avoidable”.

He added: “The company tried to address the problem but did so inadequately.”

Mr May, who had three children and six grandchildren, was a member of the Co-op and former chairman of St Enoder Parish Council, he was a member of the Co-op and used to visit their shops most days.

Speaking outside the court, his daughter Victoria Parsons said: “We’d just like everybody to learn that this was so easily avoided; if they had kept an eye on that water my dad would still be alive today.”

The defence read a statement from Christopher Whitfield, retail and logistics director at the Group, in which he said Mr May “should have been kept safe while walking in our store. It is a matter of utmost regret that he was not.”

The court awarded £50,000 in costs to Cornwall Council which brought the prosecution.

The Group said it has taken steps to prevent more accidents including placing mats in store to deal with spillages and leaks.

It added that had settled a civil claim with Mr. May’s family well above that required by law and made a substantial donation to a charity of their choice.


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