Tesco worker chemically burned after COSHH breaches

A supermarket chain has been fined after a store worker suffered chemical burns.

The employee was using a corrosive cleaning product to clean an oven when it sprayed back on to his face.

Difficulty understanding instructions

The court heard the:

  • employee had difficulty understanding and following both written and verbal instructions due to learning disabilities
  • manager had been made aware of the employee’s difficulty understanding instructions
  • employee was not wearing any personal protective equipment such as goggles or gloves

The incident was investigated by the Borough Council’s Health & Safety officer.

On visiting the store, the officer found:

  • a partially-used cleaning product container that was marked ‘corrosive’
  • dirty and inadequately stored safety goggles

Health & Safety improvement notices were served and a prosecution was brought.

Sentence

Tesco Stores Ltd admitted breaking the:

  • Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974
  • Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002

The firm was fined £116,000 and ordered to pay costs of more than £10,000.

The store in question is said to have since made improvements and to no longer use the chemical.

A council spokesperson said ‘Whether your business is big or small, if you fail to meet your duties to protect your employees under Health & Safety legislation, you run the risk of ending up in court’.

They added ‘Our role is to protect everyone at the workplace by ensuring that regulations are followed’.

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