When someone pictures an unsafe working environment they might think about falling from heights, slipping on wet floors, or complex construction sites. However, even office and retail work poses dangers and employers still have a duty of care. 

This week’s ‘Case of the Week’ involves a bank cashier who was moved to a new workstation, which was not set up correctly for her.

Working at the new poorly designed workstation all day caused our client to begin suffering pain and discomfort in her wrist, arm, shoulder and foot. Independent medical evidence confirmed that all of her medical complaints had aggravated and exacerbated her problems.

The bank in the case admitted that it had exposed our client to an unsafe workstation, but disputed this had caused her pain.

At trial, the Judge accepted our client’s evidence and agreed that the bank’s failure to make sure the workstation was suitable had caused the aggravation and exacerbation of her injuries.

Lorna Burns, who represented our client, said: “Employers are in the position to see what is right and wrong, and when something is wrong they have a duty to put it right. The employer in this case chose to expose our client to an obvious risk of injury and, having done so, it compounded the fault by then choosing to put her through the stress of going to Court.

“Working with her union, Unite, our client was able to have the confidence to face the employer’s down and the judgment in her favour made clear that she was right to do so.”