Sainsbury's coffee machines switched off after explosion

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Sainsbury's coffee machines switched off after explosion

22nd September 2010

Sainsbury's has taken all of its Elektra coffee machines out of service after several people were hurt in a blast caused by a ruptured pipe at a Hampshire store last week.

Customers and staff were injured when an Elektra coffee machine blew up at a Sainsbury's café at the Kingsmead Centre in Farnborough last Tuesday. Six people were taken to Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey with neck and back injuries including a 23-year-old woman who sustained wounds to her head, arm, and eye. Nine others were treated for minor injuries by ambulance crews at the scene.

Sam Harmel, a defective product specialist with Fentons Solicitors LLP said: "According to the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, the coffee machine was completely destroyed after a cylinder exploded, blowing a hole in the wall behind. Those caught in the blast were extremely lucky not to have sustained more serious injuries."

The Kingsmead Centre store was evacuated but later reopened. The café will remain closed until an investigation has been completed.

Sainsbury's said all the Elektra coffee machines in its 150 store cafés had now been switched off and meetings with the manufacturer, those responsible for machine maintenance and environmental health staff from Rushmoor Borough Council had been organised.

In production since 1947 and exporting to countries all over the world, Elektra said it was the first time any of its products had been involved in such an incident. The company has ordered specialists to examine the faulty machine and were awaiting their findings before deciding whether to issue any recall.

"By immediately closing the café and ensuring all Elektra machines at their other stores are switched off, Sainsbury's has demonstrated how seriously they view the safety of their customers," said Sam, a partner with the firm. "It is now very important to discover the exact cause of what happened."

Employees injured due to faulty work equipment can claim against their employer under the Provision and use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. Staff are protected by a number of health and safety regulations requiring employers to keep work equipment - defined by law as any 'machinery, appliance, apparatus, tool or installation for use at work' - efficiently maintained and in good working order at all times.

Regulations also apply when an employer allows staff to use their own work equipment. In addition, all suitable safety measures must always be provided and those using equipment at work must have received the appropriate training.

If, like the Sainsbury's café customers, people are injured by faulty equipment or a product used outside the course of their employment, it may still be possible to bring a claim under the Consumer Protection Act 1987.

"This Act ensures manufacturers are held liable and must pay compensation for injuries caused by their defective products," said Sam. "This is exactly why in recent years several companies have issued recall notices, including high profile cases involving four major motor manufacturers in this year alone."

Product liability claims will usually succeed if a product has been poorly designed or manufacturing errors have been made during production. Claims could also succeed if a company has failed to attempt to recall faulty products once problems are identified or insufficient warnings are given in regard to any potential dangers related to an item.

The Act covers both consumer goods as well as goods used in the workplace, meaning the distributors of products - including shops and wholesalers - therefore also have a legal responsibility under the Act.

How can Fentons Solicitors help?
Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims for victims of defective products. If you or a family member has suffered an injury that was not your fault, you could be entitled to make a claim for compensation.

If you think that you have a case or require further information, contact Fentons on 0800 019 1297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.

Source - BBC