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Law Bulletin - September 2005

Manual handling trials [Liability]

The claimant was replacing a blade, which was a working part of a printer. This involved lifting a weight of approximately 14.5kgs at arms length over a small 'lip' at the back of the machine before pushing it into place. He suffered injury to his lower back.

"Maximum" weights [Liability]

The claimant was a porter who carried medical records in a bag for the defendant hospital. He suffered a twinge to the neck one day that developed into a full blown injury. The defendant had designed a bag to carry records with reference to ergonomic advice and HSE guidelines and in theory the maximum weight to be carried in the bag, if fully packed, was 15 kg give or take 2-3 kg. The claimant argued the defendant thus allowed loads to be carried in excess of a “self-imposed” maximum of 15kg.

Slipping and safe systems of work [Liability]

The claimant was a cook. Her colleague was washing vegetables with water for about 10 minutes before she took a grill pan to him, turned and slipped and fell due to water on the floor. There was a good procedure for spillages including immediate action to put cones around any spillage and to deal with it and all witnesses, including the claimant, confirmed they knew of and used the system.

Hazards of standing [Liability]

There is a very detailed article about the personal injury risks of standing in the latest edition of the TUC Hazards magazine as part of a TUC campaign.

Protocol for the instruction of experts [Practice and Procedure]

A consolidated Code of Guidance for experts and solicitors instructing them has been long overdue. On 22 June 2005 the Civil Justice Council announced that the Master of the Rolls had launched the CJC Experts Protocol for the Instruction of Experts to Give Evidence in Civil Claims. This protocol will replace the existing Code of Guidance for expert witnesses and those instructing them.

Periodic payments [Damages]

We are going to report approvals of settlements involving periodic payments for sometime until we have seen some track record of how the courts are dealing with periodic payments.

Corporate health and safety performance indicator [Health & Safety]

Our Scottish office has reported that the HSE has launched a Corporate Health and Safety Performance Indicator (CHaSPI). This is a web-based tool designed to help organisations with over 250 employees get a measure of the effectiveness of their internal controls over health and safety, and benchmark their performance against their own targets and the performance of their peers.