Tesco fined £500,000 after boy, 10, suffers electric shock

Retail giant Tesco has been ordered to pay more than £536,000 after a 10-year-old child received an electric shock at its Warfield store in Bracknell.

On 9 July 2017, the parents of two children entered the store just before it closed. One parent went with the 10-year-old boy to the freezer section to get ice lollies. As he reached for the product, he started screaming and crying.

The electrical supply to a glass heating element under the rub rail at the front of the freezer had become damaged and exposed, leaving a severed live wire sticking out under the rail, Reading Magistrates Court was told. The child suffered a small minor burn, pain down his right leg, chest pain and was shaken.

While the incident was reported to staff, procedures were not followed properly and the freezer was left on and filled with food items until the next day when it was eventually switched off and isolated, magistrates heard. A subsequent review of records showed the freezer’s rail was known to be loose and had temporary fixes of glue or tape some months prior to the accident.

The investigation ‘revealed significant breaches of health and safety legislation’, said Councillor John Harrison, head of public protection at Bracknell Forest Council.

On 15 December 2020, Tesco pleaded guilty to two health and safety offences and was fined £268,000 for each offence plus costs of £25,750.

Last month, Tesco was ordered to pay £300,000 after a worker was crushed by a roll cage.

In January 2020, the supermarket giant was handed a £700,000 fine after a pensioner slipped and broke his hip at its Hemel Hempstead store.