March 21, 2018

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Tesco fined after employee suffers chemical burns

Tesco has been ordered to pay more than £125,000 for health and safety breaches after an employee suffered chemical burns.

Chelmsford Magistrates Court was told that an employee at the Highwoods Tesco Extra store in Colchester had received burns during an incident on 5 May 2016.  The employee was using a corrosive cleaning product to clean an oven when it sprayed back into his face, causing burns to the left eye and eyelid.

At the time, the employee was not wearing any personal protective equipment, such as goggles or gloves.

The Court heard that the employee had difficulties in understanding and following both written and verbal instructions, which the manager was aware of.

An accident report was filed after the incident and was investigated by Colchester Borough Council’s health and safety officer. On visiting, the officer found a partially-used container of the product, which was marked ‘corrosive’.

Safety goggles were available, but were dirty and inadequately stored and health and safety improvement notices were served by the officer and a prosecution was brought.

Tesco pleaded guilty to breaching s 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act and regs 6 and 7 of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations.

It was fined £116,000 and ordered to pay £10,625 costs.

Tina Bourne, portfolio holder for housing and communities, said: “Whether your business is big or small, if you fail to meet your duties to protect your employees under health and safety legislation, you run the risk of ending up in court.

“Our role is to protect everyone at the workplace by ensuring that regulations are followed and we are now satisfied that the Tesco Extra store in Highwoods has made improvements and are no longer using the chemical and have reviewed their COSHH assessments.

“I am pleased that this prosecution was successful and I hope that the example prevents other incidents from taking place.”

 

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