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Tesco pleads guilty to breaching health and safety rules after 91-year-old breaks hip

Supermarket chain Tesco has pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety law following the fall of a pensioner in its Hemel Hempstead Extra store.

Tesco Stores pleaded guilty to breaching its duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 at Luton Magistrates' Court yesterday (Monday 11 March) after an investigation by our Environmental Health Officers. Those duties required Tesco, so far as reasonably practicable, to operate and manage its stores so as to ensure customers were not exposed to risks to their safety and to ensure the health and safety at work of its staff.

On Monday 6 August 2015, a 91-year-old customer slipped on pooling liquid caused by leaking refrigerator units at the Tesco Extra store in Jarman Way, Hemel Hempstead. The customer suffered multiple hip fractures. The leaks had not been able to drain because of blocked drains under the floor, and Tesco had not cleared away the pool which had resulted.

Cllr Neil Harden, Portfolio Holder for Community and Regulatory Services, said: "We will always take action where we deem it necessary to protect the public. This conviction will send out an important message highlighting the need for businesses to comply with health and safety law and take all appropriate measures to prevent risk of injury to their employees and the public.

“Our officers are happy to offer guidance to businesses to ensure no such issues arise. I would advise businesses to make use of the free advice available on the HSE website, as we won’t hesitate to take action when we consider it necessary.”

Our Environmental Health team is employed to investigate serious accidents and ensure that businesses in Dacorum comply with health and safety law and is authorised to take action where it finds non compliance.

District Judge Leigh-Smith adjourned sentencing, and a further hearing will take place on 23 May 2019 at 2pm at Luton Magistrates' Court.