Magistrates at Southwark Crown Court have fined Tesco after an employee lift accident which resulted in one of their supermarket workers losing five toes.
The fine followed an investigation into an accident that occurred on 7th August 2009 at the Tesco Metro store in Victoria, central London, when Tesco worker Mohammed Ferdous (31) had been asked to assist with a fresh food delivery.
The Court heard how Mohammed was situated in the basement of the store, removing cages of food from the lift, and then sending empty cages back up to street level for them to be refilled. When he heard the second load descending, Mohammed opened the lift doors and stepped forward to retrieve the cages – using his right foot as leverage to help him extract them from the lift.
It was while Mohammed was removing the second series of cages that the lift car suddenly moved down, trapping his foot in the lift shaft and crushing all five toes. Colleagues were able to free Mohammed from the lift after ten minutes, but his toes were irreparably damaged and had to be amputated.
Mohammed made a Tesco employee lift accident claim for compensation in 2013, which was resolved out-of-court for a six figure settlement; however the company were prosecuted – along with the lift maintenance company Otis – after an investigation into the accident revealed that the safety of the lift had not been examined in the nine months leading up to the accident.
Both companies were charged with failing to discharge a duty and contravening a health and safety regulation contrary to Section 33 (1) (c) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, with Tesco being fined £115,000 and Otis £110,000 for their negligence which led to the Tesco employee lift accident.
Following the verdict, James Armitage, Westminster City Council’s food, health and safety manager said it was entirely unnecessary and would have been prevented if the companies had “collectively ensured that the lift was properly maintained”.