Escalating Fines - Tesco’s £160k Roll Cage Fine Is Eight Times Pre-Guidelines Level

Escalating Fines - Tesco’s £160k Roll Cage Fine Is Eight Times Pre-Guidelines Level

John Southall

In August 2018, Supermarket giant Tesco received a £160,000 fine for an injury inflicted by a falling roll cage.

When the worker was wheeling the roll cage, it became unbalanced, toppled and inflicted crush injuries, including a broken pelvis. Investigating officers found the store had ignored its own risk assessment, which requires two people to work together on tail-lifts while removing slimline cages.

In 2013 they were prosecuted for a similar offence but received a fine of only £20,000 - 8 times lower! This was the maximum fine available to magistrates courts for health and safety offences at the time. This prosecution is highly significant in demonstrating the influence of the 2016 sentencing guidelines on increasing fines for employers with a higher annual turnover.

What you should know:

The Sentencing Guidelines introduced in February 2016 have revolutionised the way health and safety offences are prosecuted and the resultant fines.

Offending businesses are now much more likely to receive substantial fines (based upon turnover), imprisonment of an individual, or insolvency of a business. Furthermore, offences are assessed according to the likelihood of harm, not the actual harm caused. So even if no incident actually occurred, but an inspector finds that poor health and safety practices meant that it was likely to happen, you or your business would be fined as if the incident actually did occur.

What this means for your business:

With the new guidelines in place, this brings into sharp focus, the requirement to properly manage health and safety and compliance in the workplace and ensure that you and your business do not fall short of health and safety laws.

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In the past, some companies may have been reluctant to invest in effective health and safety management, and may have even considered potential fines to be no more expensive than the cost of the investment required to comply. This is no longer the case and establishing strong health and safety processes is key to ensure your business is not caught out.

Streamlining health and safety management, such as training records, documentation of audits, production of risk assessments and equipment checks can be managed through the use of effective health and safety software. Safety Cloud makes health and safety management simple storing all your data in one place, accessible online and via the Safety Cloud app with built-in QR code for equipment checks.


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