Martin McColl Limited (now McColl’s Retail Group Plc), Lone working risks

Newsagent chain Martin McColl Limited (now McColl’s Retail Group Plc), has been fined £150,000 and ordered to pay £78,000 in costs after pleading guilty to six separate breaches of Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

The company suffered six armed robberies at four stores in an eight month period with employees enduring serious threats and injuries on several occasions.

McColl’s policies, procedures and staff training were unsuitable and insufficient for the threats the employees faced. In several stores risk assessments for staff working alone and assessments for workplace violence were not undertaken. Prior to the spate of robberies the Court was hearing, the company had received several improvement notices and had been fined £5,000 for failing to ensure employee safety after a separate robbery in 2008.

In sentencing, the Judge commented that had McColl not entered a guilty plea the fine would have been £225,000; highlighting the seriousness of the offence.