Employees used a fish knife to open tied bags. The Judge said that he was satisfied by the documents provided that when the client was issued with a knife he was given an instruction leaflet. He found that the client was trained in the use of the knife. The training was to cut away from the bag and not towards it. However it was apparent that there were problems when using the knife in this way. A majority of the employees, including the client and four witnesses, cut towards themselves due to difficulties with space and this was a known fact by the employer.
The Judge was not satisfied with how the employer dealt with this. He did not think it was sufficient that the supervisor oversaw that employees were using the knife correctly on an ad hoc basis and ruled that the employer should have done something more systematic. They did not take the obvious steps to ensure that further training or instruction was given to prevent the misuse of the knife.
He did feel however that as an experienced employee the claimant had partly contributed to her injury by using the knife to cut towards herself and therefore awarded damages for the claimant with 50 per cent contributory negligence.
Janet Baggaley -v- Merck Consumer Healthcare Limited. Kingston Upon Hull CC, 5 October 2006.