The claimant was a home care worker. It was agreed the service user’s son would do all manual handling. He was moving his mother to her settee from her commode. The claimant tried to assist by holding on to her nightdress. The service user relaxed and flopped falling at an awkward angle and injuring the claimant.

The Recorder found that the defendant’s policy, which stated an employee should let a service user fall, was a defective policy and training that supported that policy was also defective as it failed to recognise an essential quality of human nature, namely the desire to help somebody else, and no policy and no training should be aimed at eliminating that desire.

The Recorder suspected the policy was more subtle than had been stated and if that were the case then it threw a great weight on the defendant to provide adequate information on the people that the claimant was going to see. He felt the claimant had not been given adequate instruction.

Judgment for the claimant and 10 percent contributory negligence on the grounds the claimant did something she knew she did not have to do and to that extent opened herself to a risk though the risk was no more than minimal.

Ann Docherty -v- Stockton on Tees Borough Council. Middlesbrough County Court, 2 March 2006

Two glove cases

The claimant was injured when he picked up a fish tank that had been fly-tipped. He had put it onto his van but his position would not allow the tail lift to be closed and so he pushed it forward with the flats of both hands, at which point a panel broke, causing him injury.

The Judge inferred that the gloves were in fact unsuitable for fly-tipping work and provided only limited protection. Better gloves had been provided since the accident and the Judge inferred this showed a breach of regulation 4 of the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations as those gloves were available at the time of the accident. The new gloves were not a new and dramatic breakthrough in PPE unavailable at the time of the accident.

Judgment for the claimant with a 20 percent contributory negligence for using excess force which resulted in breaking the glass.

The Judge rejected the defendant’s causation argument that stronger gloves would not necessarily have prevented the injury.

Alexander Ross -v- Caxton Facilities Management Ltd. His Honour Judge Pugsley, Leicester County Court, 29 March 2006

In the second case, the claimant was a cook in a home for the elderly. She was taking a tray of meat out of the oven when the oven door swung back on her and burnt her arm.

The claimant’s case was that long gloves should have been provided to protect her. The Judge found:

  • The claimant had proved the oven door had a tendency to swing back through reports over a 12-month period before the accident.
    Long sleeve gloves had not been provided despite paperwork showing they had been delivered before the accident. The claimant had only ever seen a manual saying oven cloths should be used.

Judgment for the claimant.

Linda Baxter -v- Derbyshire County Council. Stoke-on-Trent County Court, 28 March 2006