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IKEA Fined for Health and Safety Breaches

A shopping trip led to a hefty fine for a home furnishings store after one of its machines sliced a young boy’s fingers off.

At the time of the incident, a father and his young son were in an IKEA branch in Milton Keynes in March of 2007. A travelator was present in the store, but when the child stumbled his left hand went straight into the machinery.

His father picked up the boy, who can’t be named for legal reasons, only to discover that his index and middle fingers had been lost. The father then ran to the end of the travelator and called for help.

One of the fingers was never found whereas the other ended up rolling down the other end of the machine. As a result of this, IKEA was prosecuted.

Aylesbury Crown Court heard that the boy had lost his balance and fallen into the machine. However, his hand went between the gap where sharp skirting and pallet treads were present. It was found after an investigation that these treads exceeded the 4mm set by the legal limit.

The boy was then taken to hospital for emergency surgery. The incident led to the boy having both of his fingers amputated half way down.

Due to breaching the Health and Safety Act, IKEA was ordered to cover legal costs of £90,000 and pay a fine of £75,000. It’s also accepted liability for the incident and a final figure for a compensation payout is currently being determined.