HEALTH and safety blunders at the Monkspath Tesco Extra store has landed the supermarket giant a hefty fine.
The retail outlet must stump up £62,615 after pleading guilty to three separate charges.
Solihull Magistrates also heard how another employee suffered an electric shock after touching a broken switch and how a 63-year-old worker fractured her ankle walking towards a temporary staff entrance at the store.
Prosecuting Barry Berlin said the slip-ups were a ‘catalogue of serious failures’.
“Staff were exposed to serious risks and Tesco failed to carry out the necessary risk assessments.
“They were systemic failures and the accidents were entirely preventable.”
The court heard that in April 2006 Matthew Lawrence was trapped inside an internal produce chiller for five to ten minutes. He couldn’t escape because the emergency release handle was missing and there were no emergency instructions inside.
On September 26 2007, Staurt Nutting, a general assistant in the ‘Dot Com’ section of the store was carrying out his daily duties when he suffered an ‘deeply unpleasant’ electric shock after touching a broken light switch.
The 21-year-old was taken to hospital by ambulance but released after making a full recovery.
A week later, on October 3 2007, 63-year-old Patricia Shale was walking through a poorly lit area when she heard her left ankle snap on an uneven area of ground which had recently been refurbished.
Health and safety officials also found an un-plugged cable while on a visit to the store which made up the charges.
District Judge Nigel Cadbury said it was a “close run” decision not to pass the case to Crown Court where an even larger fine could have been dished out.”
Defending Dominic Kay said: “Tesco have an entirely proper system of health and safety but understand that it failed in the Solihull store.“The company regrets the incidents that took place and takes it very seriously.”
Councillor Mrs Diana Holl-Allen, cabinet member for safer communities said: “The systemic failures that led to these preventable accidents are completely unacceptable. We hope that this case shows employers that failure to manage health and safety is not acceptable, especially when members of staff are put at risk.”