Tesco Stores Limited is having to defend its health and safety record as two employees sue for negligence.  Leading trade union Unite (Amicus section) has secured compensation for two members who worked at a Tesco Distribution Centre in Purfleet, Essex.  The claims were handled by leading personal injury specialists Thompsons Solicitors.

Robert Child, from Hornchurch, Essex, secured £7,000 compensation following an accident which led to severe neck and back injuries.  And Terry Finch, from Stanford Le Hope, Essex, secured nearly £4,000 after slipping on a loading bay ramp and injuring his finger badly.

In August 2006, 32 year old Mr Child was driving a reach truck along the aisle of the distribution centre in Tesco’s Purfleet warehouse. As he drove past one of the aisles, a “Rollop”, a ride on vehicle that can pull up to 3 roll cages, came out of the aisles and hit the reach truck he was driving in the side, directly behind his seat.  Drivers are trained to stop when they reach junctions, but on this occasion, the driver of the Rollop did not stop.

Robert Child explains: “I was quite shocked but carried on to where I was going.   When I got off the reach truck to do my next job I felt intense pain in my neck and back.  I have been off sick for some time, and as time has gone on, the pain has spread down to the centre of my back and is worse on the left hand side. I have some problems if I have to use my left arm too much and I am unable to pick things up, even if they are not very heavy.”

Terry Finch’s accident took place in September 2006.  He was working as a warehouse man and was unloading a lorry that had docked in the loading bay with an electrically powered pallet truck.  He slipped because both the ramp and canopy leaked and were slippery, and as a result needed stitches in his finger.  A year on, his finger remains scarred and tender to use.

Ian Maidlow, Unite (Amicus Section) Regional Officer, comments: “We’re pleased with the compensation secured for both of our members.  We hope that it serves as a warning to Tesco and to other employers – large and small.”

Representing Mr Child and Mr Finch, William Seymour, from Thompsons Solicitors in Chelmsford, explains: “It is unacceptable for a major brand and a leading employer such as Tesco to put employees at risk by not providing a safe working environment.  All employers have a duty of care to their employees.”

This story was also published by Personnel Today.