23 August, 2018
Tesco Feels the Brunt of the Sentencing Guidelines
Tesco has been fined £160,000 after an employee was seriously injured in an incident involving a roll cage.
In September 2015, the employee was working alone to unload roll cages containing stock from a delivery vehicle. The worker was wheeling a 150kg cage into the express store when it toppled over. The worker sustained serious pelvic crush injuries.
An investigation by Thurrock Council found that Tesco had disregarded its own risk assessment, which required two people to work together while moving roll cages.
Tesco pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act at Basildon Magistrates' Court on 3 August.
It is notable that the fine imposed was eight times the level of fine previously levied on Tesco for a similar conviction in 2013. In 2013, Tesco received a fine of £20,000 when a lone worker was injured by a roll cage. At the time this was the maximum penalty; the introduction of the sentencing guidelines in 2016 means that magistrates are now no longer subject to a fine ceiling and as a result are able to impose much higher fines on larger companies.
Local Authority Fined after Child Suffers Chemical Burns
A local authority in Scotland has been fined £12000 and ordered to pay compensation of £6000, after pleading guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
Local authority employees had cleaned a slipway and the steps of a pier using sodium hypochlorite. Later in the day, two children were crabbing in the area. The hazardous chemical had not been washed away and as a result one of the boys sustained a chemical burn.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found the council ought to have washed away the solution, or cordoned off the area to prevent children from accessing the area. It was also noted that the Council's risk assessment failed to consider whether there was a risk to members of the public.
This was the second incident in two years, the injury was foreseeable and the Council ought to have taken steps to prevent a further occurrence.
Two Companies Fined After Worker Falls from Flat Roof
In December 2014, a worker sustained life threatening injuries whilst working on a flat roof at a Primary School. The roof had been accessed without a harness using an unsecured, damaged ladder of inadequate length which was missing its rubber feet and stability bar.
According to the investigation by the Health and Safety Executive, JHH Engineering Ltd failed to provide to monitor the work or to provide site specific planning. Kier Facilities Services Ltd neglected to implement its own work at height procedures.
JHH Engineering Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of HSWA 1974 and was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,967.12. Kier Facilities Services Ltd, the principal contractor pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of HSWA 1974 and received a much higher fine of £200,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,923.72.
Employers must comply with the Work at Height Regulations 2005. Pursuant to the Regulations, employers must ensure that all work at height is properly planned and organised, that work is risk assessed and the appropriate equipment selected and that the equipment used for work at height is properly inspected and maintained.