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Tesco COSHH breaches left employee with chemical burns

Supermarket giant Tesco has been prosecuted after a worker with learning disabilities sustained a chemical eye burn.

Tesco COSHH breaches left employee with chemical burns
Image credit: © iStock/TonyBaggett

The employee at the Tesco Extra store in Highwoods Square in Colchester, Essex, was cleaning an oven on 5 May 2016 when the chemical product he was using splashed his face. He was not wearing goggles and his left eye and eyelid were burned.

Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court was told that the employee had difficulties following written and verbal instructions, which his manager was aware of. 

A health and safety officer for Colchester Borough Council, which brought the prosecution, carried out an investigation after an accident report was filed and served an improvement notice on the company.

He found safety goggles were available but were not properly looked after and stored when not in use. 

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. 

Councillor Tina Bourne, portfolio holder for Housing and Communities, said: “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.”

 

Keeley Downey is acting deputy editor of IOSH Magazine. She is a former editor of Biofuels International, Bioenergy Insight and Tank Cleaning Magazine

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