Tesco Maintenance Procedures Shock HSE

Tesco has been prosecuted for health and safety breaches that resulted in a maintenance worker falling through a fragile skylight.

The worker was part of a team carrying out repairs to the roof and gutters at its store in Liscard Village when he fell around 9m through a fragile skylight and landed in the store's shopping aisles.

Tesco Maintenance Ltd and Tesco Stores Ltd were prosecuted by the HSE after it was found that there was no risk assessment or method statement for carrying out the work. In addition, the fragile skylights should have been identified and precautions taken to protect workers, however Tesco Maintenance Ltd was not given any information about the fragility of the roof by Tesco Stores Ltd.

The HSE has said it is shocked at the lack of precautions taken by Tesco before sending maintenance employees to work at height.  Following the case, the HSE Inspector commented: “Contractors should treat all roofs with care and check before starting any work if they are fragile. I am shocked at a company the size of Tesco failing to take even basic precautions to prevent injury to its employees and further, to risk injury to the public”

Tesco Stores Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and Regulation 10 of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 while Tesco Maintenance Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 9 of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and Sections 2(1) and 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

Falls through fragile materials such as roof lights, skylights and asbestos cement roofing sheets account for more fatalities than any other single cause.  It's therefore essential that safe access to work areas is carefully planned and appropriate equipment in place to ensure the work can be carried out safely.  If ever in doubt, always treat the roof or material as fragile.

For safe access onto a fragile roof, or area where there are rooflights or skylights, our Board-Walk open mesh walkway system is a lightweight, portable mesh walkway which protects workers by providing them with a safe working position.

If you are responsible for work on roofs or have any concerns regarding working on fragile roofs, please call us on Tel: 01767 691812.