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Racking collapse kills woman

14 February 2013

Death resulted from poor health and safety processes and racking in poor condition with locking pins missing, court told.

A Corby paper manufacturer has been fined for safety failings after a worker was killed when racking collapsed and heavy boxes landed on top of her.

Northampton Crown Court heard that Mrs Todorovic had been standing next to the racking as a forklift truck was being used to lift down pallets of boxes.

Several boxes of till rolls fell on top of her, partially burying her underneath, and she died shortly afterwards after sustaining multiple injuries.

Desanka Todorovic, 44, who lived in Corby, was working in the warehouse at Merley Paper Converters, Pilot Road, on 16 March 2009 when the racking collapsed.

The company, which manufactures paper rolls used in tills, chip and pin terminals and cash machines, was prosecuted after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that it had failed to properly control the risks to employees within the warehouse.

In particular, the racking that collapsed had been in a poor condition with important locking pins missing.

Merley Paper Converters was fined £70,000 and ordered to pay costs of £30,974 after pleading guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Speaking after the sentencing hearing, HSE Inspector Roger Amery said: "This has been an extremely tragic case which has had a huge impact on Mrs Todorovic's family. I felt huge sympathy for her husband who was also working in the factory and was nearby at the time.

"Had Merley Paper Converters properly erected and then properly maintained its racking, this incident would never have happened.

"Virtually all industries use racking in one form or another and I hope that this case will serve as a reminder that attention to detail is crucial when erecting, maintaining and inspecting racking to ensure its integrity."

For more information about warehouse safety, visit the Warehousing section of the HSE website at www.hse.gov.uk/logistics.