The importance of providing employees with the right equipment to carry out their work was highlighted in a personal injury claim case recently.
One council worker suffered a personal injury at work whilst on duty at a polling station. The woman had to transfer a ballot box, along with some other items, to a different building and the council provided her with a trolley to enable her to do this. Because she was transferring items to another building, she needed to pull the trolley along a tarmac path.
This path had been well maintained, making it difficult for the woman to control the trolley. To make matters worse, the trolley had a very short handle making it hard to pull. The trolley slipped from side to side as it bounced along the path and eventually came in contact with the woman’s leg causing her to fall. As a result of this fall, the woman suffered a fractured elbow and she needed to take sick leave from work while her injury healed.
The council worker contacted a firm of personal injury solicitors because she felt her employer did not provide equipment that was suitable for the task. The lawyers agreed with her and filed a personal injury claim against the council.
The council denied liability for the accident saying the trolley was purchased as a ‘ballot trolley’. However, the judge ruled that whilst the trolley was suitable for use on flat surfaces indoor, it was not appropriate for use on surfaces that were uneven, especially for tall people. The council had carried out a risk assessment but that only dealt with using the trolley indoors.
The judge ruled against the employer and awarded personal injury compensation to the claimant.