Tesco supermarket slapped with huge fine after pensioner, 91, breaks hip at Hemel store
Supermarket giants Tesco has been fined more than £700,000 today after an elderly customer slipped and BROKE his hip at a Hemel Hempstead store.
Dennis Satchell, 91, was pushing a trolley through the aisles at Jarman Park's store back in August 2015, when he slipped on water.
The shopper, who suffered a broken hip in the fall, even had to have a pin inserted during surgery.
The court heard today how the water had leaked from a blocked drain under a refrigerated unit in the aisle, forming a pool on the floor.
Chillers hadn’t been turned off and the aisle had never once been closed to the public as the problem continued throughout June, July and early August.
Following an investigation into the incident Tesco were charged with health and safety breaches.
The company appeared at Luton Magistrates Court for a sentencing hearing after it had admitted earlier two charges of failing to discharge its duty to ensure customers and staff and were not exposed to risks to their health and safety.
The proceedings against the firm started in 2019 when they first pleaded guilty to the two offences brought under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
Sentence had been adjourned until today.
Prosecutor Pascal Bates, on behalf of Dacorum Borough Council, said there had been a general failure by the store to tackle the problem.
Stephen Hockman QC for Tesco said the company apologised to Mr Satchell for the injury he had sustained and its failing to deal properly with the water leaking problem that was happening in the store.
He described failings that had occurred as “localised” and said Tesco had always worked hard across all its stores to “deal” with hazards caused by water on shop floors.
Mr Hickman added that the water was on the floor was not because of a refrigerator leak, but because of a drain blockage beneath the unit.
“Having occurred it should have been dealt with more precisely and quickly and if it had been the injury to Mr Satchell could have been avoided,” he said.
District Judge Nicholas Leigh-Smith fined Tesco £733,333.
He will decide what Tesco will have to pay in costs in the next few weeks.
A Tesco Spokesperson said: “Nothing is more important to us than the safety of our colleagues and customers and we are deeply sorry for this accident.
“Since this happened in 2015, we’ve given all staff at this store improved training in health and safety and maintenance escalation procedures to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”