Four Years After Death of Customer in Accident, Welsh Supermarket Chain Accepts Responsibility

by Medindia Content Team on  January 22, 2008 at 11:49 AM General Health News
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Four Years After Death of Customer in Accident, Welsh Supermarket Chain Accepts Responsibility
Four years after a 37-year-old man was crushed to death by a steel swing barrier, supermarket giant Asda has admitted its own responsibility for the accident.

Kenneth Farr, father of three, was struck by an unsecured steel swing barrier in an Asda car park in Cardiff Bay, South Wales, on May 14 2002.

His daughter Jessica, then aged three, was on the back seat of his car at the time and escaped unharmed, but Farr of Penarth, South Wales, died of his injuries later that day.

A jury at an inquest into his death in March 2006 returned a verdict of unlawful killing.

On Monday Asda Stores Limited admitted to health and safety breaches during inquest at the Newport Crown Court.

Farr was driving into the supermarket car park when the swing barrier was blown into his windscreen by a sudden gust of wind, the court was told.

He was struck on the head by the barrier, which then went through the driver's side window.

He was taken to the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, where he later died.

His daughter was rescued from the car by passer-by who shielded her from seeing her father's injuries.

The two-week inquest into his death was told that the barrier, which was difficult to close, should have been locked in place with a padlock, but was not secured on the day Farr died.

One Asda employee told the inquest she had problems opening and closing the heavy barrier, and that the day before the accident it had got stuck a short distance from its securing post.

Asda's divisional environmental health manager Nicole Flint told the inquest she understood it was the store's security team's job to check the barrier was secured, but one of the security guards said he had not been told to do so.

The inquest also heard from shoppers who had seen the barrier swinging in the wind.

Other accidents with car park barriers had taken place at other Asda stores, Cardiff Coroner's Court was told.

Asda was prosecuted on two charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act after a couple were injured by a barrier at a Walsall store in 1999, and had to pay a Ģ9,000 fine.

A couple in Bristol were covered in glass when a barrier struck their car windscreen in 2001, the inquest heard.

Asda moved similar barriers from their stores after Farr's death and urged other supermarkets to do the same.

They said during the inquest that the barrier had been installed for customer safety because late-night car rallies were being held in the car park.

Source: Medindia

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