Aldi has spoken of its “regret” after it violated health and safety legislation in an incident in which a “flying” smoking shelter outside the discounter’s Faverdale, Darlington, depot injured an employee.

It pleaded guilty to one charge under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 at Teesside Crown Court last week. Aldi’s contractor Wilkinson Maintenance also pleaded guilty to a charge under the same legislation.

A gust of wind blew the insecure shelter on to Michael Simpson, who was taking a cigarette break outside the distribution centre in October 2014.

His back and arms were injured and he said he still had nightmares about the incident more than a year later.

The court heard that the contractor had moved the smoking shelter to install an emergency exit at the depot but it was left unsecured. Aldi thought Wilkinson would take care of it and vice versa.

The court fined Aldi £100,000 and ordered it to pay costs of more than £5,200. Wilkinson was fined £20,000 and also ordered to pay costs of more than £5,200.

The court was asked to consider Aldi’s otherwise unblemished health and safety record as a mitigating factor and Judge Simon Bourne-Arton QC remarked on the “impeccable character of both defendants”.

An Aldi spokeswoman told The Grocer: “We regret this isolated incident and are pleased the judge recognised the company’s impeccable character.

“We take our health and safety responsibilities extremely seriously and are committed to safeguarding the welfare of our employees. All necessary steps have been taken to remove the risk of this incident happening again and we are pleased that our employee has returned to work.”