The claimant worked at a hospital. She was helping a 75-year-old man get out of his wheelchair and on to his bed. He said he was a little shaky but he would be fine.

As she helped him out of the chair, he suddenly rolled backwards and pulled the claimant over the chair. The claimant’s case was that a stand-aid should have been available in the department.

The defendant argued that there was a hoist in the x-ray department. However, on questioning, the defendant’s witness confirmed that not everyone who was shaky should automatically be hoisted and that a lot of patients did not like being hoisted. Another defence witness agreed that any one of them could have ordered a stand-aid for their department.

The Judge found the simple provision of a stand-aid for their department – there were ones in other neighbouring areas – would have reduced the risk of injury to a lower level and the failure to provide a stand-aid was a breach of the Manual Handling Regulations 1992.

We did not adduce any special evidence about the propensity of the patient for this kind of fall and took it as read that a 75-year-old man in a wheelchair had a tendency to be slightly shaky.

Derby County Court, 26 April 2010.