Category: Injury at Work Ireland

If you sustain an injury at work in Ireland for which you are not wholly to blame, you may be entitled to claim compensation. Many work injuries in Ireland are avoidable, and when an employer´s lack of care has resulted in a loss, an injury or the deterioration of an existing condition, you should speak with a solicitor about making a compensation claim. One of the major benefits of seeking professional legal advice is that the Injuries Board application for assessment provides little opportunity for you to express how your injury has affected your quality of life – are area which could substantially increase how much compensation for an injury at work in Ireland you are entitled to receive. Therefore you are invited to discuss the circumstances of your injury at work in Ireland with an experienced solicitor on our freephone Solicitors Advisory Panel.

Former Garda Awarded €9,000 for Injuries Sustained During 2013 Workplace Assault

A former Garda has been awarded just €9,000 workplace accident compensation by a High Court judge for injuries he suffered to his lower back and right leg, when he was assisting the arrest of a violent drunk in Cavan during 2013.

Barrister Esther Earley told the Judge Michael Twomey that Garda Gary Tobin, a renowned former rugby player and current junior rugby coach, that Garda Tobin had been on duty in Bailieborough at 3am on 31 January 2013 when he and a colleague arrested a violent drunk and possible drugs user on the town’s Main Street.

While the arrest was taking place he (Tobin) he had been knocked to the ground, injuring his lower back and right leg. He was absent from work for four months off work due to severe back pain before returning to light station duties for a number of months. Upon his return to work his right leg had continued paining him and he still experienced symptoms and still had difficulty putting his socks.

Counsel for the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Barrister Kevin Dinneen was advised by that his back had fully recovered after four months but he still experienced intermittent pain in his leg. He said that although his doctor had advised he get physiotherapy he had neglected to do so.

Garda TObin told the Court that, from his experience as a rugby coach, he was aware of how to deal with injuries and had undertaken a self-treatment regime for himself involving exercise after initially having been prescribed anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxants.

Judge Twomey, awarding Tobin €9,000 workplace injury compensation and costs for what he described as soft tissue injuries, told the Court that he (Tobin) had undergone an MRI scan at the time which had shown degenerative symptoms in his back.

 

Compensation Payment to Donegal Widow Under ‘Lost at Sea’ Scheme

A Donegal widow, Winifred Byrne, who had secured the Ombudsman’s support for State compensation over exclusion from a Government scheme has finally been sent a cheque for €245,570 in Lost at Sea compensation.

Bruckless resident Ms Byrne has been awarded an ex-gratia payment from Minister for Marine Michael Creed, after a 14-year dispute when she was left out og the “Lost at Sea scheme” to support families who died while working at sea.

Ms Byrne’s lost her husband Francis and her 16-year-old son Jimmy, when they were lost along with three other crewmen after their fishing boat Skifjord perished in 1981.

In 2001, then marine minister Frank Fahey initiated a limited scheme to encourage families who had lost vessels between 1980 and 1989 to stay in fishing, by awarding compensatory “tonnage” .

Despite there being 67 applications through the scheme, only six were selected and 75% of the funds paid were to constituents of the then Minister for the Marine Mr Frank Fahey.

As the scheme had not been widely advertised the Byrne family submitted a complaint in 2004 after their late application had been turned own. Ombudsman Ms Emily O’Reilly found in their favour in December 2009, stating the scheme had been improperly operated. Despite the report being presented to the Oireachtas committee on agriculture in 2010.

Danny Byrne said that his mother had received the payment, and paid tribute to Minister for the Marine Mr Michael Creed, and to former Fine Gael MEP Jim Higgins who had championed the family’s cause over the years.

Matt Carthy, Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West, “I want to extend my congratulations to the Byrne family for the sheer determination and perseverance they exhibited in seeing through their campaign against successive Irish Governments on the Lost at Sea scheme.  I am delighted that they have now finally received the compensation that was legislatively owed to them and hope that this will close what I am sure has been a difficult, and at times frustrating, case.

“The Byrnes, who tragically lost two members of their family, three crew members and their entire livelihood had been fighting against their exclusion from the scheme for over 3 decades.”

Injured Tesco Security Guard Awarded €32,000 for Workplace ‘Victimisation’

A Tesco Security Guard has had a €32,000 workplace bullying compensation pay out ordered due to be paid to him by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) overturned at the Labour Court.

The man was working with Noonan Services Group Limited at the Tesco store in Co Limerick, a retail unit 40,000 square feet big.

The initial payout was in relation to a complaint over a dispute the man entered into at the store as he recovered from knee surgery sustained in a workplace accident that occurred at a different place of work.

His work involved a period, during his shift at the Tesco store, sit in a chair at a bank of security cameras in order to oversee the activity in the store.

As part of store policy this chair was taken away in order to tackle ‘shrinkage’. This refers to the stealing of articles from the shop floor. The though was that this would force security staff to walk the aisles instead of sitting at the camera-station.

He complained about this and asked for the chair to be brought back, he says his request was refused. He also presented medical testimony that said standing for the duration of his ten-hour shift he would severely affect his recovery from the surgery on his knee.

In November 2015, he ceased working at the Tesco outlet and did not return to work there.

The WRC had initially awarded him €32,000, €16,000 for loss of wages due to going on extended leave, and another €16,000 due to his alleged victimisation.

Tesco had objected during the hearing on the basis that Noonan’s were employing the man and not Tesco. The initial decision by the WRC adjudication officer stated that it was correct to name Tesco as the respondent as the store exerted considerable command and control over the man, regarding annual leave applications and the delivery of security reports for example.

The retailer claimed argued that Noonan is not an employment agency per se, as had been argued earlier, but is ‘a provider of managed services’. It claimed, successfully, that neither the Temporary Agency Work Act 2012, nor the Employment Agency Act 1971, applied to such providers of managed services.

In line with this the court overturned the original decision to award the man €32,000 in personal injury compensation.

Former Supermarket Worker Awarded €105,000 Workplace Compensation for Cold Room Accident

A workplace accident award of €105,000 has been upheld by the Court of Appeal (CoA)    for a former part-time supermarket staff member who sustained an injury when she fell while operating a pallet truck moving wares.

37-year-old Pamela Phoenix, who now lives in Canada, and formerly of McDonnell Drive, Athy, Co Kildare, took the workplace compensation against Dunnes Stores due to the accident that she had on September 18, 2006. Ms Phoenix was trying to shift the pallet truck in reverse through a cold room when she suddenly slipped and fell heavily, injuring her bottom and back. 

A workplace accident compensation award of €105,929 was approved for Ms Phoenix in the High Court in 2016. The court agreed that she suffered chronic back pain and depressive symptomatology due to the supermarket workplace incident. By October 2007 she had gained a lot of weight. The judge said that he felt Ms Phoenix was a credible witness who did not exaggerate the suffering she experienced.

Dunnes Stores appealed the workplace compensation as, they argued, that the supermarket worker compensation award was excessive and disproportionately high.

Mr Justice Gerard Hogan, representing the three-judge Court of Appeal, upheld the supermarket workplace compensation award saying while it was probably in the upper range of what is normal, given the role of an appeallate court in other case law, the Court of Appeal cannot take any additional action in relation to this.

After the supermarket staff member accident Ms Phoenix was brought by ambulance to St Lukes’ hospital in Kilkenny. Her X-rays showed no serious damage and she was sent home with some pain-killing tablets. In the immediate aftermath of the the accident she had to use crutches to get around for a few days

She had difficulty returning to work with the same workload that she had tackled before the accident and changed jobs to a position with Elverys. In 2007, still experiencing a considerable amount of back pain, she departed that role. She also has difficulty in maintaining her studies at Maynooth University and became psychologically weak, eventually suffering from depression when she suffered a miscarriage n 2008. Following this Ms Phoenix moved to Canada to start a new life in 2013 where she married and had a baby in 2016.

Toxic Chemical Personal Injuries Lead to Death of Air Corps Members’ Children According to Whistleblower Allegations

A protected disclosure alleging that children of Air Corps workers lost their lives due to toxic chemical personal injury at Baldonnel Airfield has been made by a Defence Forces whistleblower.

Previously in 2017 a document was published to the public in which a worker employed by the Defence Forces claimed to have proof of the “the untimely deaths of at least 20 adults…of which I believe died of illness related to unprotected chemical exposure”.

Included in this dossier were evidence that the death of a newborn girl happened due to ventricular septal defect (heart defect), a five year old boy died while having surgery to address a ‘malrotated intestine’ and a girl aged 15 died after contracting Ewing’s sarcoma, a form of cancer and her father is suffering from leukaemia at present.

There have been claims made about the effects of chemical exposure on the wives of members of the defence forces. A mechanic, who previously worked with the Air Corps, noticed that a number of these women had experienced more than one miscarriages and in one particular case, a woman had eight consecutive miscarriages. An independent third party, former civil servant Christopher O’Toole, was appointed by the Minister for Defence in 2016, to investigate the allegations

Leader of Fianna Fáil Mr Micheál Martin said he believes a Commission of Investigation is now necessary. He stated “The situation is far from satisfactory because with his opening comments the report’s author is essentially saying he cannot fulfill the terms of reference. From the Government’s point of view they established this review, they must have known the terms of reference could not be fulfilled. It’s farcical.”

Although the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) have advised that procedures into risk assessment need to be reviewed, a whistleblower has said that these steps are “too little, too late”,especially in the case of those who have lost family members or who have developed life-changing illnesses and injuries.

There have been allegations issued that these deaths are due to organizational failure on the part of the Defence Forces which meant that Air Corps personnel were exposed to toxic chemicals. The Defence Forces are now facing Toxic Chemical Personal Injuries compensation actions by some former employees. The Defence Forces have released a statement stating, “Given these matters are subject to litigation, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

 

 

Mouth Injury Compensation of €30,000 for Garda Injured While at Work

A garda, Sean Kelly aged 31 who is due to be married next weekend, has been awarded €30,000 mouth injury compensation after he was assaulted while at work on January 7 2012.

Garda Kelly,  said that he is still sensitive about a scar on his upper lip and advised Mr Justice Bernard Barton he was still paranoid about the star-shaped scar. Despite this he was still able to joke to the the judge that he may have to don some make-up when he gets married next Saturday.

The incident happened just under five years ago when he was on duty. Counsel for Garda Kelly, Barrister Fiona Gallagher, advised the High Court that he had been called to a house in Finglas regarding a man who, had just been released from a psychiatric institution where he had been treated. He was threatening to self harm. Garda Kelly was accompanied by two colleagues.

Garda Kelly stated that the individual, who had swallowed large amounts of non-prescriptive medication, had shut himself in his bathroom. From there he was threatening to jump from the bathroom window. When they tried to apprehend the man Garda Kelly was struck on his mouth with a toilet brush holder, which lacerated his lip, in the resulting melee.

Garda Kelly had to be taken to Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown to be treated immediately due to the major bleeding that followed. When he was treated, a piece of porcelain was found to be still stuck in his upper lip. X-rays showed he had not been inflicted with any major fractures.

After this he was given an anaesthetic injection and received seven stitches, many of them on the inside of his mouth. Later, when the scar later became infected, he had to follow a course of antibiotics until the infection was cured. The scar on the outside of his lip was noticeable at close distance and he was still very paranoid about it.

Barrister Derek Ryan, Counsel for the Minister for Public Expenditure, advised the High Court that, due to the results of conflicting medical reports, he did not feel Garda Kelly had suffered Post Traumatic Stress to the degree that there should be an exceptional compensation award.

State Healthcare Employees Make Five Sexual Harassment Claims Against Patients

Five employees working in the State healthcare system filed sexual harassment claims over the last number of years, believing they were assaulted by patients, according to details in a recent media report.

The State Claims Agency has not published specific details about where the claimed abuse took place in these or any other separate cases.

The claims are in connection to incidents that took place between 2012 and 2016 and encompass almost half of all sexual harassment claims being managed by the State Claims Agency for the State.

Up until recently, the State Claims Agency had declined to release any further information on such claims.

There have been calls from political party Fianna Fail and the Oireachtas Justice Committee for the State Claims Agency to release a detailed breakdown of all sexual harassment claims made against individual public sector bodies. This comes after the original refusal by the State Claims Agency to release such a breakdown, by employer and sector, of all the sexual harassment claims which it manages for the State.

The Oireachtas Justice and Equality Committee made contact with Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan during November to ask him to back a call for the data to be published. After this the State Claims Agency published a small amount of information on the number of such sexual harassment claims. However, it did not state where the claims originated from specifically.

In an official statement published it said that the State Claims Agency has managed 11 individual claims of sexual harassment in the workplace, which it stated was “referable to three State Authorities, inclusive of all Delegated Healthcare Agencies, in the years 2012 to 2016”.

It also stated that in six of the cases they’ve managed the claimed assailant and victim are both employees. In the other five cases they said the person allegedly responsible for the assault was a service user in the healthcare sector and the victim was a employee.

The State Claims Agency (SCA) stated “The claims that the SCA handle, of this nature, are claims which are wholly or mainly ones seeking compensation for injury (mental or physical).”

 

Advice about Compensation for Noise Induced Hearing Loss

A settlement of injury compensation for noise induced hearing loss should take into account the consequences of the injury on your quality of life.

If you have suffered damage to your hearing due to an employer´s failure to provide a safe environment for you to work in, you will be eligible to claim compensation for noise induced hearing loss. The usual process for this is to apply to the Injuries Board for an assessment of your claim and support your application with a report from your doctor explaining the extent of your injury.

It is also important you communicate the consequences of your injury as well. The Injuries Board can only assess your application based on the information provided. If you fail to mention your quality of life has deteriorated and you have less self-confidence than previously because of your injury, the Injuries Board will be unaware of these factors and not account for them in the assessment of your claim.

The consequences of your injury will have to be supported with documentary evidence wherever possible for the consequences of your injury to be considered in the assessment of compensation for noise induced hearing loss. In many cases this can be difficult, and is why you should seek legal advice from an injury solicitor with experience of submitting applications for assessment to the Injuries Board.

In order to get a full understanding of how your noise induced hearing loss has affected your quality of life, your solicitor will ask you to keep a diary and record the times when your loss of hearing has made a noticeable difference to your quality of life. This may be when you find it hard to watch a film on TV, follow a conversation in a pub, or enjoy an outing with your family.

Your solicitor will help you complete the application to the Injuries Board to ensure these factors are included in their assessment, and to ensure you receive an appropriate settlement of injury compensation for noise induced hearing loss. If you are unable to speak over the phone with a solicitor because of the extent of your injury, you can have somebody call on your behalf or arrange a home visit.

Toxic Chemical Exposure Claims at Casement Airbase

The Journal published an article about toxic chemical exposure claims at Casement Airbase and the effects chemicals had on servicemen and their families.

According to the article, a former Air Corps mechanic has made toxic chemical exposure claims at Casement Airbase to highlight a lack of health and safety procedures. The “whistle-blower” has alleged that servicemen, their partners and their children have suffered illnesses and development issues – and in some cases death – due to exposure to carcinogenic and mutagenic chemicals.

The claims were made under a protected disclosure agreement in an address to Ministers, TDs, senators and a Defence Forces representative. They were supported by documentation claiming twenty former servicemen may have died due to the exposure to toxic chemicals. Five children born with cancer-related conditions or birth defects are also claimed to have died due to their parents´ exposure.

The former Air Corps mechanic told the assembly: “I have come across several personnel whose wives have had multiple miscarriages both in serving and in retired personnel. In one case, a retired member’s wife had eight miscarriages in succession. I am also aware of three personnel who shared in an office in Casement´s engineering wing whose wives all had a miscarriage in the same six-month timeframe.”

The latest toxic chemical exposure claims at Casement Airbase are in addition to six personal injury claims already being made against the Defence Forces by former air corps servicemen. In their claims the former servicemen claim they were exposed to high levels of the restricted substance dichloromethane for up to twelve years despite the Defence Forces being aware of the health risks.

The Defence Forces have also been threatened with prosecution by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) who last year conducted an inspection of the working conditions at Casement Airbase. Among a series of faults at the airbase, inspectors found a failure to conduct risk assessments or provide personal protective equipment to personnel working with hazardous substances.

When asked to comment on the latest toxic chemical exposure claims at Casement Airbase, a spokesperson for the Department of Defence told the Journal an independent investigator was reviewing the claims and there would be no comment until the final report was received and studied. A spokesperson for the Defence Forces told the Journal: “Given these matters are subject to litigation, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

Claim for an Accident in a Sewerage Plant Resolved at Court

A claim for an accident in a sewerage plant, that left an employee with an ongoing back issue, has been resolved at the High Court.

The plaintiff – a former employee of the decommissioned Templemore sewerage plant in County Tipperary – was working at the plant on 3rd February 2010, when he slipped on sewerage waste that had overflowed from the inlet channels onto the path.

As a result of his slip and fall accident, the plaintiff sustained a back injury and, for several weeks, experienced headaches. Due to the ongoing back issue, he was unable to return to his maintenance job that mostly consisted of cleaning the flume surrounds.

The plaintiff applied to the Injuries Board for assessment of his claim for an accident in a sewerage plant, but consent to conduct the assessment was denied by his employers – Templemore Town Council. The Injuries Board issued an authorisation for the plaintiff to pursue his claim through the court system.

The claim was heard this week at the High Court, where Mr Justice Raymond Fullam was told that the council had allegedly failed to provide the plaintiff with a safe system of work and the appropriate tools to carry out his duties.

In its defence, Templemore Town Council argued that, as cleaning the pathways was one of plaintiff´s duties, he should have dealt with the situation before it became a hazard. The council also argued that, if the plaintiff needed further tools to complete his duties, he should have asked for them.

Judge Fullam agreed that the hard standings of the flume were in a bad state on the day of the accident, and said that the total value of the plaintiff´s claim was €79,000. However, the judge attributed the plaintiff with 40% contributory negligence to the cause of his accident and subsequently decreased the settlement of the claim for an accident in a sewerage plant to €47,400.

Claim for a Creche Trip and Fall Injury Settled by Negotiation

A woman´s claim for a creche trip and fall injury has been settled by negotiation for an undisclosed amount during a hearing to determine liability.

In January 2015, the twenty-six year old childcare worker was employed by the Precious Minds creche in Lucan, Dublin, when she was asked by a senior member of staff to help her change nappies in the babies room. The woman was looking after a group of one and two year old children at the time, but she complied with the request, taking the children who were awake with her.

The woman´s colleague left the babies room shortly after to attend to other matters – leaving the young childcare worker alone with nine children. While she was helping one of the children, the woman tripped on a plastic plate that had been left on the floor injured her back as she fell to the floor. She was subsequently diagnosed with a soft tissue injury, from which she still suffers.

The woman made a claim for a creche trip and fall injury to the Injuries Board. However, Precious Minds withheld their consent for the assessment to be conducted on the grounds that the childcare worker was responsible for ensuring the floor was free of hazards that could harm the children, and had therefore contributed to the cause of her accident by her own lack of care.

The Injuries Board issued the woman with an authorisation so that she could pursue her claim for a trip and fall injury through the courts. The hearing took place last week before Judge Brian O´Callaghan, who was told by counsel for the creche that the plaintiff was the author of her own misfortune. However, a forensic engineer testified on behalf of the plaintiff that the creche had created an unduly stressful situation by leaving the woman with nine children to care for.

Following a brief adjournment, Judge O´Callaghan was informed that the claim for a creche trip and fall injury had been settled by negotiation for an undisclosed amount and without an admission of liability. The judge commented that it was good that the two parties had reached an agreement, and he awarded the woman her legal costs before striking her claim.

Judge Awards Employee Compensation for a Fall at Heuston Station

A judge at the Circuit Civil Court has awarded a former restaurant employee compensation for a fall at Heuston Station caused by a slip on pigeon droppings.

On May 15th, 2013, the twenty-five year old former employee was serving customers and clearing tables at the Heuston Refreshment Rooms, when she slipped on pigeon droppings and fell. Due to the way in which her right leg wen from under her, and the way she fell sideways onto her knees and lower back, the woman suffered significant soft tissue injuries to her knees, ankles and lower back.

After receiving medical attention, the woman applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of compensation for a fall at Heuston Station. The two parties she considered liable for her injuries – Heuston Refreshment Rooms and Córas Iompair Éireann (CIE) – declined to give their consent for the assessment to proceed, and an authorisation was issued to pursue her claim in court.

The claim was heard earlier this week by Mr Justice Raymond Groarke at the Circuit Civil Court. At the hearing Judge Groarke was told that the plaintiff´s duties were often interrupted by the need to shoo pigeons away from customers and their food. It was alleged that groups of pigeons visited the restaurant six to seven times each day and that the woman´s employers were aware of the problem.

In its evidence, the restaurant said it was aware the pigeons and their droppings created a hazard, and that it had complained to CIE on numerous occasions. Unfortunately, the measures implemented to deter the pigeons from entering the station – including spikes, humane traps and a hawk on a pole with which the pigeons had become acquainted – had failed to be effective.

At the end of the hearing, Judge Groarke found in the plaintiff´s favour. He said that her accident had been completely foreseeable and completely preventable, and he awarded her €22,500 compensation for a fall at Heuston Station in settlement of her claim, plus a further €2,148 to account for her special damages. The judge added that, although he was finding against both defendants, he would make an order in favour of the restaurant against CIE.

Judge Awards Compensation for an Employee Head Injury in Dunnes Stores

A woman has been awarded €15,000 compensation for an employee head injury in Dunnes Stores after the judge commented she was not that badly hurt.

The woman – now a former employee – was asked to go into the stockroom of the Dunnes Store in Tallaght Dublin in March 2012 and told to bring a trolley loaded with bread back into the store. As she starting pushing the two-metre high trolley out of the stockroom, the top tray fell from the trolley and hit the woman on her head.

After being administered first aid by a colleague, the woman attended the emergency department at Tallaght Hospital. No serious injury was detected but, as a precaution, she was admitted overnight for observation. The woman claims that she still suffers headaches and neck pain as a result of her “significant injury”.

When the woman claimed compensation for an employee head injury in Dunnes Stores, the company admitted liability for her injury, but contested how much compensation she was claiming. Unable to reach a negotiated settlement, a hearing of the Circuit Civil Court was scheduled for the assessment of damages only.

The scheduled hearing took place last week, when Judge Terence O´Sullivan was told that the former employee now has a job as a hairdresser. The circumstances of the accident were related to the judge, and counsel representing Dunnes Stores argued that the former employee´s neck pain was attributable to her hairdressing job and not the 2012 accident.

Judge O´Sullivan noted the woman had not attended her doctor for three years or made any effort to seek physiotherapy, commenting it was the opinion of the court that she was not that badly hurt. If, the judge said, she had indeed suffered a “significant injury”, she had not done that good a job of looking after herself.

The judge awarded the woman €15,000 compensation for an employee head injury in Dunnes Stores and gave Dunnes Stores leave to consider appealing the award provided they pay their former employee €10,000 of the award immediately.

Previously Dismissed Airport Work Injury Claim Resolved at High Court

A previously dismissed airport work injury claim, made by a former Ryanair check-in clerk, has been resolved at the High Court with an award of €16,650.

The airport work injury claim was made by a thirty-six year old woman from Swords in Dublin who, on 28th July 2011, injured her back while lifting a piece of passenger luggage onto a conveyor belt at Dublin Airport.

The woman had been tagging the luggage at the time of her injury to indicate to baggage handlers that it was the last piece of luggage to be checked in. She alleged in her airport work injury claim that the check-in desk was not a suitable site from which to lift luggage off of and onto the conveyor belt and that there was no safe system of work in place for the tagging process.

Her airport work injury claim was contested by her employer – MK Human Resources – and Ryanair, and she was issued with an authorization by the Injuries Board to pursue her claim in court. However, at the Circuit Civil Court last November, her claim was dismissed after doubts were raised about whether she had been standing or sitting – contrary to the training provided for her – at the time of her injury.

The plaintiff appealed the decision of the Circuit Civil Court, and the appeal was heard last week by Mr Justice Kevin Cross at the High Court. At the hearing, Judge Cross ruled in the plaintiff´s favour and awarded her €20,800 compensation. The judge found that, although the plaintiff had twice been given manual lifting training, it had not been “site specific” and therefore would not be applicable to working behind a check-in desk.

However, during her evidence, the plaintiff had admitted that she had twisted her body to lift the luggage, rather than turn it. The judge said this had contributed to her injury and she should accept 20% of the blame. He subsequently reduced the settlement of her airport work injury claim to €16,650 to account for the plaintiff´s contributory negligence.

Waitress Awarded Compensation for an Injury Caused by Broken Glass

A former waitress has been awarded €500,000 compensation for an injury caused by broken glass after a hearing at the High Court in Dublin.

The claim for compensation for an injury caused by broken glass was made by Sophie Caillaud – a former waitress at the Lough Rynn Hotel in Mohill, County Leitrim. Sophie (42) – a French national with an address in Leitrim Village – suffered a deep cut in her right thumb when a glass jug she was filling during a breakfast shift in December 2007 shattered in her hand.

Sophie had to undergo surgery to repair the soft damage tissue in her thumb and, due to the thumb never regaining its strength, Sophie has been unable to return to waitressing since her accident. The injury has also restricted Sophie in her day-to-day activities. She is unable to wash her hair unaided and has had to buy a car with automatic transmission.

After seeking legal advice, Sophie claimed compensation for an injury caused by broken glass against her former employer – Lough Rynn Castle Ltd. – and the two companies that manufactured and supplied the jugs to the hotel – Bunzl Outsourcing Ltd and Utopia Tableware Ltd. Although accepting partial responsibility for the accident, the defendants questioned the amount of compensation that was being claimed and argued that she contributed to her injury through her own negligence.

With no resolution to the case achievable through the Injuries Board process or by negotiation, the claim for compensation for an injury caused by broken glass went to the High Court in Dublin, where it was heard by Mr Justice Kevin Cross. At the hearing, Judge Cross was told that the hotel management knew of the risk of injury from the jugs as members of the restaurant staff had previously reported injuries from the jugs shattering.

The judge was also presented with expert evidence that showed the joint between the jug´s thick handle and its thinner body was liable to be fragile if subjected to rapid heating and cooling – such as when used in a dishwasher. As a result, the joint would break, the jug would fall and the glass shatter. The defendants were unable to provide any evidence disputing the expert´s testimony.

After hearing evidence from Sophie, Judge Cross dismissed suggestions that Sophie was exaggerating her injuries and claims of contributory negligence. Saying that he found Sophie to be “entirely genuine”, Judge Cross awarded her €500,000 compensation for an injury caused by broken glass – €170,000 for Sophie´s past and future pain and suffering, €135,000 for her loss of earnings and €195,000 special damages for costs Sophie has incurred.

Employee Awarded Compensation for Falling Down Stairs at Dunnes Stores

A checkout operator from Wexford has been awarded €81,500 compensation for falling down stairs at Dunnes Stores after a hearing at the High Court.

Jean O´Reilly was working as a checkout operator at her local Dunnes Stores in Redmond Square, Wexford, when – on 9th December 2011 – she fell down a flight of stairs due to losing her footing while reading notices on the staff noticeboard.

An ambulance took Jean to hospital, where she received treatment for soft tissue injuries to her back and neck. Jean had to wear a neck brace for six weeks to support her head while she was unable to work, and she also underwent a course of physiotherapy to the damaged soft tissues so that they could recover their strength.

Jean applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of compensation for falling down stairs at Dunnes Stores, but her employed failed to consent to the assessment being conducted. Jean was subsequently issued with an authorisation to pursue her claim for compensation through the courts, and she sought legal advice.

The claim for compensation for falling down stairs at Dunnes Stores was heard at the end of last week. At the hearing, Mr Justice Raymond Fullam heard that the staff noticeboard was placed too close to the top of the stairs and that there was no handrail along one side of the staircase that would have enabled Jean to arrest her fall before she was injured.

Judge Fullam found in Jean´s favour and said that Dunnes Stores had failed in its statutory duty of care to prevent the risk of injuries to its staff. He awarded Jean €81,500 compensation for falling down stairs at Dunnes Stores, comprising of €65,000 general damages for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity Jean had experienced, and €16,500 special damages for her loss of income and costs she had incurred.

Former Picker Awarded €153,150 Compensation for a Warehouse Injury

A former picker has been awarded €153,150 compensation for a warehouse injury caused by the failure to provide adequate training for heavy lifting duties.

In October 2012, Salmovir Spes (47) was employed as a picker at the Windcanton distribution centre in Blanchardstown, Dublin. His role involved lifting goods due to be distributed to twenty-four Supervalu supermarkets in the area, and loading them onto trolleys for forward transportation.

On October 29th, Salmovir was lifting five trays of yoghurts from a pallet when he experienced a sharp pain in his back. He went home to rest, but was unable to return to work because of his back injury. Salmovir remained on sick pay until being made redundant in 2014.

Alleging that his injury was due to a failure to provide adequate training for heavy lifting duties, Salmovir claimed compensation for a warehouse injury against his employers. He also alleged he was set an unreasonably high “pick rate” of 1,200 picks per seven-and-a-half hour shift.

The claim was denied by Windcanton, and Salmovir was issued with an authorisation by the Injuries Board to pursue compensation for a warehouse injury through the courts. His case was recently heard by Mr Justice Anthony Barr at the High Court.

At the hearing, Judge Barr heard that employees were required to take short cuts in order to meet their pick rate each day, and dismissed claims by Windcanton that Salmovir had contributed to his injury by his own negligence. The judge also dismissed allegations that Salmovir was singled out for heavy lifting duties because of his nationality.

The judge awarded Salmovir €153,150 compensation for a warehouse injury, saying he was satisfied that the plaintiff had suffered a significant injury to his lower back due to his employer´s negligence. Judge Barr added he accepted that Salmovir continued to experience pain from his injury that rendered him “permanently disabled in the work aspects of his life”.

€15,000 Kitchen Burns Injury Compensation Awarded at Court

A chef has been awarded €15,000 kitchen burns injury compensation after a judge heard that a hose used for cleaning the kitchen was not fit for purpose.

Shijun Liu was usually employed as a chef at the Howards Way Restaurant in Rathgar. However, in March 2013, he was working at the venue´s sister establishment in Churchtown, when he attempted to help a kitchen cleaner who was trying to free the kinks in a domestic hose used to clean the kitchen.

As Shijun and the cleaner tried to untangle the hose, scalding water was suddenly sprayed at the chef. Shijun – who was unfamiliar with the cleaning practises at the Churchtown establishment – was taken to the VHI Clinic in nearby Dundrum, where he was treated for severe scald burns on his ankle.

Due to the nature of his injury, Shijun was unable to return to work for two weeks. He subsequently claimed kitchen burns injury compensation against his employer – Declan Howard trading as Howards Way Restaurant – but Howard denied his consent for the Injuries Board to conduct an assessment of the claim.

The Injuries Board issued Shijun with an authorisation to pursue kitchen burns injury compensation through the courts. After seeking advice from a solicitor, Shijun continued with his legal action, and a hearing to determine liability for his injury took place earlier this week at the Circuit Civil Court.

At the hearing Mr Justice Raymond Groarke heard that the hose used to clean the Churchtown restaurant was not fit for purpose as it could not withstand the heat of the water and softened the more it was used. Judge Groarke found in Shijun´s favour and awarded him €15,000 kitchen burns injury compensation – commenting that he had found Shijun´s testimony very compelling.

Company Prosecuted for Crushed Leg Injury at Work

A manufacturer of concrete sports equipment has been prosecuted for breaches of health and safety regulations that resulted in a crushed leg injury at work.

The company – Bendcrete Leisure Ltd of Stalybridge in Manchester – is well-known for the manufacture of concrete sports equipment such as climbing walls and skate parks. The company also manufactures concrete table tennis tables for outdoor use.

On 20th February 2015, five of the concrete table tennis tables were being prepared for transportation – the first four having been balanced on top of two half-empty resin barrels. As the fifth one was lowered, the weight was too much for the resin barrels and the stack collapsed.

The unnamed employee had been operating the lifting crane from alongside the stack of table tennis tables and, when the stack collapsed, the tables fell on top of him – crushing his legs. Colleagues were able to release the employee and he was taken to Wythenshaw Hospital by ambulance.

The Health and Safety Authority (HSE) conducted an investigation into the crushed leg injury at work and found that the task of manoeuvring the concrete table tennis tables had not been planned, supervised or carried out safely.

The HSE subsequently prosecuted Bendcrete Leisure Ltd for breaches of Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and, at Trafford Magistrates´ Court, directors of Bendcrete Leisure Ltd plead guilty to the charges.

After hearing that the employee had spent ten weeks in hospital recovering from his crushed leg injury at work and has been unable to work since, magistrates fined the company £12,000 for the health and safety breaches and ordered the company to pay an additional £3,495 in costs.

NI Pipe Company Fined £24,000 for Fatal Forklift Accident at Work

A manufacturer of plastic drainage pipes has been fined £24,000 for health and safety failings that resulted in a fatal forklift accident at work.

The manufacturer – Cherry Pipes Ltd of Dungannon in County Tyrone – was prosecuted by inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) following an investigation into a fatal forklift accident at work.

According to the inspectors´ report, a 49-year-old Polish employee – Arkadiusz Makosa – was fatally injured when a forklift he was driving overturned at the company´s premises in Crumlin, County Antrim. Tragically, Mr Makosa was crushed beneath the weight of the vehicle´s safety frame that was there to protect him.

The inspectors discovered that Mr Makosa was employed as a general operative by the manufacturing company and not as a forklift truck operator, and had therefore received no professional training on manoeuvring the vehicle. Cherry Pipes Ltd was charged with four breaches of health and safety laws that resulted in the fatal forklift accident at work:

  • Article 4(1) of the Health and Safety Work at Work Order (NI) 1978.
  • Regulation 9(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1999.
  • Regulation 9(2) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1999.
  • Regulation 10(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2000.

At Antrim Crown Court, David Cherry – the managing director of Cherry Pipes Ltd – called the death of Mr Makosa “a tragic loss”. After pleading guilty to the charges brought against the company, Mr Cherry told the court that the company had conducted a full review of its internal health and safety procedures to ensure that there will be no repeat of the fatal forklift accident at work.

Cherry Pipes Ltd was fined £6,000 for each breach of health and safety legislation and ordered to pay £854 – following which Health and Safety Executive inspector Kevin Campbell said: “Employers must ensure that operators of forklift trucks are properly trained, competent and authorised to operate lift trucks.”

He added: “No one should be allowed to operate a forklift truck unless they have received the appropriate training and instruction. It is also essential that all employers provide health and safety information to their employees that is clear and easily understood.”

Judge Approves Settlement of Compensation Claim for a Fatal Accident at Work

Mr Justice Kevin Cross has approved a €500,000 settlement of a compensation claim for a fatal accident at work made by the widow of a man killed in 2008.

Declan Byrne (31) from Ballyhaunis in County Mayo was working on the construction of a gym at the Connacht Sportsground in Galway on 30th April 2008 when the tragic accident happened. Due to the blockwork of the construction being at an advanced stage, Declan had chosen to use a scaffold and bottle jack – rather than a teleporter or a crane – to support a 1.4 tonne steel beam while he realigned it.

When Declan removed the last of the six bolts holding the beam in place, the beam fell on him – causing him to suffer fatal injuries. An investigation into Declan´s death resulted in charges being brought against his employer – CDM Steel Ltd – but the company were acquitted from alleged breaches of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act at a hearing of Galway Circuit Criminal Court in 2013.

At the end of the criminal hearing, Judge Rory McCabe was critical of CDM Steel Ltd for failing to have a construction supervisor on the site and for an “appalling lack of communication” that contributed to Declan´s death. Subsequently, Declan´s widow – Dolores – sought legal advice and made a compensation claim for a fatal accident at work against CDM Steel Ltd and three other defendants.

The defendants denied that their negligence had resulted in Declan´s death and the case was scheduled to be heard at the High Court. However, prior to the case being heard, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was informed that a settlement of the compensation claim for a fatal accident at work had been agreed amounting to €500,000.

Judge Cross approved the settlement and told the family that, although the settlement of the compensation claim for a fatal accident at work was a good one – and that he was happy to approve it – “nothing can replace what you have lost”.

HSA Releases Details of Workplace Fatalities in Ireland

The Health and Safety Authority has released details of workplace fatalities in Ireland for 2015, with fifty-five employees suffering fatal injuries at work.

Although the number of workplace fatalities in Ireland was the same as in 2014, there were significant changes in the distribution of fatal accidents at work. Fatalities in agriculture accounted for eighteen reported deaths compared to thirty deaths in 2014 and included the deaths of three children who were struck by falling objects or moving vehicles.

Construction workplace fatalities in Ireland increased from eight in 2014 to eleven in 2015 and the fishing industry also saw an increase in fatal accidents from one in 2014 to five in 2015. Two-thirds of work-related deaths occurred in businesses with fewer than ten employees or where the victim was self-employed – mainly in agriculture, construction and fishing.

Twenty-one of the workplace fatalities in Ireland were related to accidents involving moving vehicles, while fifteen employees were killed as a result of a fall from height and thirteen others died as a result of being crushed or trapped by machinery. Of the remaining workplace fatalities in Ireland, the majority were attributable to drowning.

Brian Higgisson – the Assistant Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Authority – said the Authority will be looking for further improvements and reductions in accidents during 2016. He said in a press release: “All work-related deaths are tragic and while we must cautiously welcome the reduction in agriculture fatalities, it is still the most dangerous occupation and that needs to change. There are high levels of safety and health awareness in Irish workplaces and we must ensure that this translates to changes in behaviour and fewer accidents in all the sectors this year.”

Mr Higgisson continued: “We will continue to direct resources to the high-risk sectors, but health issues such as those caused by exposure to asbestos, dust, noise and manual handling are also major risks in the workplace. These hazards account for more working days lost than injuries and we intend to increase our focus on these topics during 2016.”

High Court Hears Back Injury Claim due to Workplace Conditions

The High Court has heard a back injury claim due to workplace conditions, and awarded the plaintiff €415,000 compensation for no longer being able to work.

In January 2011, Mohammed Ali Saleh was employed as a slaughter hall man at the Moyvalley Meats factory in County Kildare. While working at the pluck station on 11th January, Mohammed twisted to put meat from a dead animal onto a hook and felt a sharp pain in his back. Mohammed underwent an MRI scan that revealed that he had suffered a prolapse disc and needed urgent decompression treatment.

Despite undergoing two operations on his back, Mohammed´s condition did not improve. He was diagnosed with failed bad syndrome and suffers from persistent pain in his back and legs, has an associated foot weakness, and can only walk with the assistance of crutches. Unable to work, Mohammed made a back injury claim due to workplace conditions against his employer.

In his legal action against Moyvalley Meats Ireland Limited, Mohammed alleged that he had not been adequately trained to perform his duties without conducting a twisting manoeuvre and that the company had not introduced a safe system of work. The company contested Mohammed´s back injury claim due to workplace conditions, and a hearing was schedule for the case to be heard at the High Court.

At the hearing, Moyvalley Meats told Mr Justice Kevin Cross that Mohammed had been given on the job training and that his injury was attributable to an existing back condition. However, an expert witness testified that no safe system of work had been implemented to avoid the twisting manoeuvre responsible for Mohammed´s back injury, and that the only training Mohammed had received was watching an operative perform the task for a short period of time.

Judge Cross found in Mohammed´s favour, and awarded him €415,000 compensation in settlement of his back injury claim due to workplace conditions. The judge explained that the size of the compensation settlement reflected Mohammed´s lost income and his past and future pain and suffering.

Dublin Man Awarded Compensation for Back Injury in Factory Accident

A man from Stoneybatter in Dublin has been awarded €46,000 compensation for a back injury in a factory accident after a hearing at the High Court.

Daniel Hanley (24) made his claim for compensation for a back injury in a factory accident after slipping of small pieces of granite that had been spilled onto the floor and falling at the Castolin Eutectic manufacturing plant in the Magna Business Park.

Daniel – who had been pushing a pallet truck at the time – was taken to hospital, where he received treatment for soft tissue damage. His injury caused him to have six weeks off from work, and his back still troubles him and prevents him from leading a fully active life.

Daniel applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of compensation for a back injury in a factory accident. However, Castolin Eutectic declined to give its consent for an assessment to proceed, and Daniel was given an Authorisation to pursue his claim through the court system.

The case was heard earlier this week by Mr Justice Kevin Cross, who listened to allegations that the floor surface at the Magna Business Park plant was not fit and suitable for purpose, and that Castolin Eutectic had been negligent by failing to implement a safe system of work.

Representatives of Castolin Eutectic argued that Daniel´s accident was due to his own negligence, but the judge also heard there had been a number of slip and fall accidents due to graphite spills in the period leading up to Daniel´s accident.

The judge ruled in Daniel´s favour – commenting that the company´s management had failed to implement safety measures that could have prevented Daniel´s accident. Judge Cross commented there was no suggestion that Daniel had been doing anything wrong or had contributed to the cause of his accident.

He added that, based on the testimonies he had heard, it was likely that there was at least a small amount of graphite on the floor at the time Daniel slipped and fell. Judge Cross awarded Daniel €46,000 compensation for a back injury in a factory accident.

Flight Attendant Brings Claim for Injuries due to a Bumpy Plane Landing

An Aer Lingus flight attendant has brought a claim for injuries due to a bumpy plane landing in respect of a November 2009 flight from Malaga to Dublin.

The claim for injuries due to a bumpy plane landing was brought by Cassandra Reddin (33) from Ratoath in County Meath who, on 19th November 2009, was a member of the flight crew on Aer Lingus flight EI582 flying into Dublin Airport from Malaga in Spain.

According to information provided in the claim, the Airbus 320 began to sway as it approached Dublin Airport and descended much faster than normal. When the plane landed on the runway, it bounced three times and did not stop as quickly as it normally would.

Due to the impact of the plane on the runway, Cassandra brought a claim for injuries due to a bumpy plane landing for whiplash-like injuries to her neck and back. She also alleges she feared that the plane would not stop before the end of the runway and that it was going to crash.

Cassandra applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of her claim for injuries due to a bumpy plane landing, but Aer Lingus denied consent for the assessment to proceed. The Injuries Board subsequently issued Cassandra with an authorisation to pursue her claim through the courts.

The High Court hearing started earlier this week with Cassandra explaining to Mr Justice Michael Hanna that the bumpy landing caused the overhead luggage lockers to open and luggage to fall on top of passengers. Cassandra told the judge “There was a degree of chaos and stress on board.”

Cassandra also gave evidence that, in addition to her soft tissue injuries, she had suffered shock due to the bumpy landing and had cried the whole evening when she had got home. She told the court that in her opinion the cause of the bumpy landing was the co-pilot´s negligence in failing to adequately supervise the landing of the plane. The High Court hearing continues today.

Electrician´s Claim for a Shoulder Injury against Iarnrod Éireann Settled during Court Hearing

An electrician´s claim for a shoulder injury against Iarnrod Éireann has been settled for an undisclosed amount during a hearing to establish liability.

Padraic Reddin (38) was employed as an electrician by Iarnrod Éireann at its depot in Fairview when, in February 2012, he was assigned the task of changing a front destination scroll on a Dart train. As Padraic lifted the replacement destination scroll up towards its mounting, he felt a sharp pain across his shoulders and upper body.

Although Padraic stopped what he was doing and rested for a while before completing the task, the pain continued and affected his everyday life. Padriac´s sleeping was disrupted and he also felt discomfort in his shoulder when performing relatively light tasks such as making a cup of tea. Padraic attended his GP, but the pain continued in his shoulder for several months.

Padraic also reported his shoulder injury to a superior, but the superior refused to complete an accident report form because of the passage of time there had been since Padraic had suffered his injury. Padraic sought legal advice and made a claim for a shoulder injury against Iarnrod Éireann.

Unfortunately, when Padraic sent an application for an assessment to the Injuries Board, Iarnrod Éireann refused to consent to the assessment of his claim. The Injuries Board subsequently issued Padraic with an authorisation to pursue his claim for a shoulder injury against Iarnrod Éireann through the courts.

The hearing to establish liability in Padraic´s claim for a shoulder injury against Iarnrod Éireann was scheduled to be heard last week by Mr Justice Raymond Groarke at the Circuit Civil Court. At the hearing, Judge Groarke was told that a value of €38,000 compensation had been put on Padraic’s claim if it was successful.

The judge also heard that the destination scroll Padraic had been assigned to change weighed 10kg and it was situated at a height of 2 metres. It was argued that, to avoid the risk of injury, the task should have been assigned to two employees rather than just one.

Legal representatives of Iarnrod Éireann then requested a brief adjournment. When the hearing was resumed, Judge Groarke was told that the claim for a shoulder injury against Iarnrod Éireann had been settled for an undisclosed amount and that the case could be struck out. Judge Groarke awarded Padraic his legal costs and closed the hearing.

Farmyard Fall Injury Compensation Claim Settled at Hearing

A man who lost his senses of taste and smell in a farmyard accident has settled his farmyard fall injury compensation claim at a hearing of the High Court.

Con Oxley from Cullahill in County Laois was preparing to install light fittings at a barn on a farm in nearby Ballacolla when, on 11 August 2008, a plank suspended between two boxes cracked as he stepped onto it.

Con fell 2.5 metres (eight feet) onto the floor of the barn owned by farmer Mark Quigley, hitting his head on the floor of the barn and suffering brain damage. In addition to losing his senses of taste and smell in the accident, Con lost partial sight in his left eye.

After seeking legal advice, Con made a farmyard fall injury compensation claim against Quigley – alleging that the planks he had been provided with to navigate the barn had been unsuitable for the job and that Quigley had failed to provide any form of intermediate support beneath the planks to ensure his safety.

Quigley denied that he was responsible for Con´s injuries and the Injuries Board issued an authorisation so that Con could pursue his farmyard fall injury compensation claim through the courts. However, before a date for a hearing could be set, liability was agreed on a 50/50 basis – with Con agreeing to a €300,000 compensation settlement without an admission of liability from Quigley.

At the High Court, Mr Justice Kevin Cross said the agreement was a good one in the circumstances. Had Con´s farmyard fall injury compensation claim gone to a full hearing, the judge said, Con´s contributory negligence for failing to inspect the planks would have been called into question. Judge Cross approved the settlement and closed the case.

Daughter Successful in Claim for Death due to Exposure to Asbestos

The daughter of a man who died from mesothelioma cancer has successfully made a claim for death due to exposure to asbestos against two companies who previously employed her father.  

In December 2013, seventy-three year old Peter McCormack from Whickham in Tyne and Wear died from mesothelioma cancer – eighteen months after being diagnosed with the disease. Before he passed away, Peter had started a compensation claim for exposure to asbestos against two of his previous employers, and this was carried on by his daughter Elke after his death.

In the claim for death due to exposure to asbestos, it was alleged that the two employers failed to protect Peter from inhaling asbestos dust and fibres in the workplace, and it was due to the employers´ negligence that he developed the disease and died so quickly after it had been diagnosed.

In the claim against EON UK – for whom Peter worked as an apprentice and mechanical fitter – it was claimed that Peter worked alongside laggers who mixed up asbestos without any protection before applying it to pipes and other fittings.

The claim for death due to exposure to asbestos also named OSG Ship Management as being negligent, as Peter had worked as an engineer aboard the company´s ships – repairing pipes that had been lagged with asbestos. It was also alleged that there was asbestos dust on surfaces of the ships which, when disturbed, entered the atmosphere and was inhaled by company´s employees.

After a prolonged period of negotiation, the claim for death due to exposure to asbestos was eventually resolved, with insurers for the two companies agreeing to a six-figure settlement. The settlement will be shared by Elke and her sister Natalie, who said: “Hopefully, this settlement will highlight to employers the need to protect people from exposure to asbestos, so other families do not have to watch their loved ones deteriorate so quickly.”

Elke commented “My dad was always an extremely active man, spending his time mountaineering, walking and cycling, but after his diagnosis his health deteriorated rapidly and was unable to do the things he enjoyed so much. The diagnosis also caused him severe distress and anxiety for his future”.

Compensation for Fatal Farm Accident Agreed before Court Hearing

A family´s claim for compensation for a fatal farm accident was resolved shortly before a hearing into the case was about to commence at the High Court.

Seamus Miley from Dunlavin in County Wicklow – died on May 24th 2007 when a six-tonne dumper truck he was driving on the Ardenode Stud Farm in Ballymore Eustace, County Kildare overturned as it descended a steep hill.

An investigation into the accident found that the roll bar in the dumper truck was defective and should have saved Seamus´ life. Seamus´ widow – Anne – claimed compensation for the fatal farm accident on behalf of her family and a separate compensation claim for nervous shock against Seamus´ employer and several other companies connected with the design and supply of the dumper truck.

The allegations of negligence were denied by each of the defendants, who contested that Seamus had been the architect of his own misfortune by driving the truck at excessive speed. No agreement could be reached on the outcome of the case and it proceeded to court, where it was scheduled to be heard by Ms Justice Mary Irvine.

However, before the court case could get underway, Judge Irvine was told that Anne and the Miley family had agreed to a settlement of compensation for the fatal farm accident amounting to €700,000. Judge Irvine was also informed that Anne had resolved her compensation claim for nervous shock for €100,000. The judge approved the settlements, sympathising that the family had to come to court in such tragic circumstances.

Dunnes Employee Awarded Canteen Slip and Fall Injury Compensation

An employee of Dunnes Stores in Clonmel has been awarded €82,750 canteen slip and fall injury compensation after a hearing at the High Court.

Twenty-nine year old Dorota Michalowska had been clearing tables in the canteen of her local Dunnes Store in Clonmel, County Tipperary, when – on July 14th 2011 – as she was pushing a trolley laden with dirty dishes towards the kitchen, she slipped on a frozen chip on the floor and fell awkwardly – sustaining a soft tissue injury in her knee.

Dorota´s left her immobilised for six months – and unable to work for thirty-five weeks – and after undergoing therapy to reduce her incapacity Dorota sought legal advice from a solicitor and made a claim for canteen slip and fall injury compensation against Dunnes Stores.

Dunnes Stores denied its liability for Dorota´s soft tissue injury – arguing that she had been preparing much of the food in the canteen throughout the day and, as it was most likely that her negligence was responsible for the frozen chip being on the floor, Dorota had been the author of her own misfortune.

Dorota´s claim for canteen slip and fall injury compensation was heard by Ms Justice Mary Irvine at the High Court, and after hearing evidence from both parties, Judge Irvine ruled Dorota´s favour on the grounds that had Dorota dropped the frozen chip herself – and then gone around the canteen loading her trolley with dirty dishes – the chips would have defrosted by the time Dorota slipped on them and injured her knee.

The judge noted that Dorota had two colleagues working in the canteen with her on the day of the accident and “on the balance of probabilities” in was more than likely that one of Dorota´s colleagues had dropped the chip and either not seen the hazard or neglected to pick it up. Consequently Judge Irvine ruled, Dunnes Stores were liable for Dorota´s injuries due to the negligence of its staff.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine awarded Dorota €82,750 canteen slip and fall injury compensation – commenting that it was likely Dorota would suffer from arthritis in her later life, and that the compensation settlement included a payment of €20,000 to account for Dorota´s future pain and suffering.

Man Receives Brain Injury Compensation after Fall from Roof

The High Court has approved a settlement of brain injury compensation after a fall from the roof of a house left a fifty-year-old man with permanent brain damage.

Paul O´Brien was working on the roof of a house in Bray on 18th July 2012 – his first paid employment since he lost his construction job in 2008 – when he went to descend from the roof as it started raining.

Paul attempted to exit the roof from a ladder which had been propped up against the side of the building; but, as he stepped onto it, the ladder slipped on the wooden decking it had been placed on, and Paul fell to the ground.

As a result of his accident, Paul suffered a significant head trauma and now has limited short-term memory. Through his wife – Sandra O´Brien of Glenealy in County Wicklow – Paul made a claim for brain injury compensation after a fall from a roof against his employer – Sean Lyons of Clondalkin, Dublin.

Paul claimed in his action that Lyons had failed to provide a safe environment in which to work and had been negligent by failing to provide suitable scaffolding or fall protection to enable him to work safely.

It was also claimed that the ladder provided was unfit for the purpose of descending from the roof safely, that it had not been fastened to the building, and that the combination of an unsuitable, unfastened ladder and the wet wooden decking on which it had been placed resulted in a dangerous hazard.

An out-of-court settlement of brain injury compensation after a fall from a roof was negotiated by Sandra and Paul´s legal representatives; but, because of the nature of Paul´s injury, it had to be first approved by a judge.

Consequently, the details of the accident were related to Ms Justice Mary Irvine at the High Court, who also heard that Sandra had taken a two-year sabbatical from her job to care for her husband.

The judge was told that the €1.5 million settlement of brain injury compensation after a fall from the roof of roofer´s fall from height injury compensation had been agreed out-of-court and that the family were willing to accept it.

Judge Irvine approved Paul´s settlement – commenting that had the case gone to court, Paul´s contributory negligence may have been a factor in the amount of the settlement. The judge then closed the hearing, saying that she sympathised with the O’Brien family.

Chef Injured in Work Team Building Activity Resolves Claim Out of Court

A hotel chef, injured in a work team building activity, has resolved his compensation claim for a broken wrist out of court.

Cathal Kavanagh (54) from Ongar in Dublin – an executive chef at the four star Carton House Spa and Golf Hotel in Maynooth, County Kildare – attended a team-building day in October 2006 organised by his employer at the Riverbank Arts Centre in Newbridge.

During the day, Cathal and other managers from the hotel were asked to participate in various activities; including a relay race in which the managers were divided into two teams and then asked to hop forwards and then run backwards to pass the baton to the next team member.

During the relay race, Cathal slipped and he broke his wrist when he fell. After speaking with a solicitor, Cathal made a compensation claim for being injured in a work team building activity against his employer, the Riverbank Arts Centre and the company that had organised the team building day – JikiJela Ltd of Tubbercurry, County Sligo.

Cathal alleged in his compensation claim for being injured in a work team building activity that the three defendants had been negligent by failing to ensure that the activities were safe or that there was any risk on an injury occurring. The three allegedly negligent parties denied their liability for Cathal´s slip and fall injury and an Authorisation was issued by the Injuries Board for Cathal´s claim to be heard at the Circuit Civil Court.

However, when re-convening after the lunch break on the first day of the hearing, Ms Justice Mary Irvine was told that Cathal had resolved his claim for being injured in a work team building activity and that the case could now be struck out.

Fall from Ladder Injury Compensation Awarded to Former Argos Employee

A former employee of Argos in Waterford has been awarded fall from ladder injury compensation amounting to €25,000 after a hearing at the Circuit Civil Court.

Forty-two year old Nicola Starmer was working as a front-of-house sales assistant at the Great George´s Street branch of Argos in February 2007, when she went into the store´s stockroom to fetch goods that had been purchased by a customer.

As the purchase she needed to retrieve from the stockroom was located on a high shelf, Nicola – from Ballynakill Downs in Waterford – used a ladder in order to reach it. However, as Nicola was descending the ladder, she fell backwards and put out her hand to break her fall.

At the time Nicola was unaware that she had sustained an injury in the accident; but, as the day progressed, she started to feel pain in her right wrist. She visited the Accident department of the local hospital, where an x-ray which revealed she had dislocated her wrist.

Doctors inserted pins into Nicola´s wrist to stabilise the injury, and she was discharged from hospital in plaster cast to protect her wrist while it healed. Unfortunately she was unable to return to her temporary job at Argos because of her injury.

Nicola explained the circumstances of her injury to a solicitor and made a claim for fall from ladder injury compensation against Argos. Argos contested its liability for her injuries and the Injuries Board issued an Authorisation for the claim to be heard at the Circuit Civil Court.

At the hearing, Argos disputed Nicola´s claim for fall from ladder injury compensation on the grounds that Nicola had been trained in ladder safety and that the company should not be held responsible for her injuries.

However, Nicola´s solicitor told Mr Justice Raymond Groake that the ladder safety training was comprised of a DVD presentation rather than a practical demonstration and, furthermore, that Nicola had never been given any training with regard to working in the stockroom as she had been employed as a front-of-house sales assistant.

Judge Groarke also heard that Nicola had only attempted to fetch the goods that had been purchased by the customer because the store was short-staffed and there was nobody else available. He found in Nicola´s favour and awarded her €25,000 in fall from ladder injury compensation.

Steep Rise in Compensation Claims for Burns and Scalds at Work

The Injuries Board has released figures which show a steep rise in compensation claims for burns and scalds at work between 2011 and 2012.

Stephen Watkins – the Director of Corporate Services at the Injuries Board – has published a press release on the Injuries Board website in which he describes the increase in compensation claims for burns and scalds at work as “worrying”.

He points to figures from 2011 and 2012 in which the number of accepted Injuries Board assessments in relation to burns and scalds in the workplace rose from twenty-eight to forty-two, with a total assessment value of €1.33 million and an average compensation award of €19,066.

Mr Watkins describes the various ways in which workers can sustain burns and scalds at work, and listed the most frequent reasons for applications being submitted to the Injuries Board:

  • Boiling water overflowing
  • Splashes from hot liquids and sauces
  • Chemical and acid burns
  • Items of clothing catching fire
  • Scalds from faulty electrical equipment

The highest individual award over the two-year period was €106,949 – relating to burns sustained in an acid spill – but Mr Watkins commented that the highest number of compensation claims for burns and scalds at work were made by plaintiffs working in the catering trade and in cleaning.

It was also highlighted that something as simple as making a hot drink could result in an injury at work, and Mr Watkins urged both employers and employees to be aware of safety precautions when in the presence of any substance or equipment that could result in a painful burn injury.

In 2012, the Health and Safety Authority´s “Summary of Workplace Injuries” showed that female employees are three times more likely than their male counterparts to sustain burns and scalds in the workplace, due to the higher percentage of females employed in catering and cleaning.

It should also not be overlooked that, in 2012, the percentage of accepted Injuries Board assessments fell from 37.2 percent to 32.7 percent – indicating that there may have been a further 100 compensation claims for burns and scalds at work which were resolved outside of the Injuries Board process.

HSA Chief Comments on Injury Claims for Slips and Falls at Work

The Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Authority – Martin O´Halloran – has commented on figures released by the Injuries Board relating to injury claims for slip and falls at work.

To coincide with the European Week for Safety and Health at Work earlier this month, the Injuries Board released figures which showed that a third of all workplace-related assessments in 2012 were attributable to injury claims for slips and falls at work.

The total value of the accepted assessments for workplace injuries amounted to €22 million and Mr O´Halloran said that employers should use the European Week for Safety and Health at Work to reflect on the safety systems they have in place and not leave anything to chance.

Although acknowledging that employees often take less care at work because they are aware that employers have responsibility for their health and safety, Mr O´Halloran revealed that a quarter of workplaces inspected by the HSA in 2012 had not carried out a risk assessment to identify where slips and falls at work might occur.

Commenting on the cost to industry of injury claims for slips and falls at work, Mr O´Halloran said “Effective management of workplace safety and health not only protects workers from injury and ill-health, but also has the potential to save businesses thousands of Euros. Proper management of workplace safety and health contributes to long-term commercial success and profitability”.

Further statistics were reported on by the Injuries Board in their press release, and these included:

· The average accepted assessment of injury compensation for a workplace accident was €27,286.
· Male workers are twice as likely to sustain a workplace injury as female workers (in all workplace accidents)
· The highest number of injury claims for slips and falls at work were made by workers in the 25 to 34 age group
· One fifth of the accepted assessments of injuries caused by a slip and fall at work were for accidents which resulted in the plaintiff taking more than one month to recover from their injuries.

Report Reveals 10 Percent Increase in Compensation Claims to the Injuries Board

Claims to the Injuries Board have increased by 10 percent in the first half of the year according to a report published on the government body´s website.

The analysis of claims to the Injuries Board from January to June 2013 show that the number of applications for the assessment of compensation received by the Injuries Board increased from 14,685 in the corresponding period in 2012 to 16,162 – a rise of just over 10 percent.

The number of assessments accepted by plaintiffs also increased from 5,180 to 5,286, but this represented a significant drop in the percentage of claims to the Injuries Board which were successfully resolved (37.2 percent > 32.7 percent) and indicates that fewer claims for personal injury compensation are being resolved through the Injuries Board process.

The total value of accepted assessments and the average value of each assessment also increased (by 8 percent and 4 percent respectively); however CEO of the Injuries Board in Ireland – Patricia Byron – explained that this was due to a small number of exceptional claims to the Injuries Board – one of which resulted in the highest ever accepted Injuries Board assessment of €976,000.

Once again, claims for injuries sustained in road traffic accidents accounted for the highest proportion of claims to the Injuries Board (75.5 percent), while there was an ongoing reduction in claims for injuries at work (8.1 percent). The remainder of the requests for an assessment of injury compensation were made in respect of public liability claims – injuries sustained in places of public access and product liability claims.

Discussing the increased volume of claims to the Injuries Board and the higher level of injury compensation settlements, Ms Byron warned insurance companies not to use the Injuries Board statistics as an excuse to raise insurance premiums. She said “Given a reduction of 30 percent in the Boards processing fee to respondents [down from €850.00 to €600.00], we see no basis for insurance premium hikes at this time”.

Potential plaintiffs should that while it may still be quicker to resolve a claim for personal injury compensation through direct contact with the negligent party´s insurers, making a claim to the Injuries Board is still necessary (except in claims for medical negligence and professional negligence) in case your claim cannot be resolved by negotiation and requires court action.

Compensation for Back Injuries at Work Awarded in Court after Fall from Chair

A woman, who fell from a faulty chair in her office, has been awarded more than Au$1million compensation for back injuries at work by a court in Australia.

Terry Anne Downie (51) from Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory was working as a team leader for the Community Information and Referral Service in Canberra when she purchased furniture on behalf of her employer – including a chair for her own use at work – from the ex-government furniture outlet store – Fyshwick.

Four months later, Terry Anne was sitting on the chair while talking on the telephone, when two spokes on the plastic moulding at the base of the chair snapped, causing her to fall to the floor. A co-worker who saw the accident said that she heard a loud crack and then saw Terry Anne lying on the floor, struggling to get up.

An ambulance was summoned and Terry Anne was taken to hospital, where it was discovered that the accident had caused a disc to swell and Terry Anne´s pain was caused by the disc being in contact with a nerve root in her spine. Doctors were unable to repair the damage and Terry Anne now suffers from a permanent tingling sensation under the skin of her legs, which has prevented her from maintaining a job since the accident and has been identified as the cause of a mental illness and early onset sexual dysfunction.

Terry Anne received Au$190,000 in worker´s compensation for back injuries at work in 2005 but, backed by her former employer, she also made a private claim for compensation against the company that imported the faulty chair from China in kit form – Jantom – claiming that the product was faulty when it was delivered to the company that she had purchased it from – Fyshwick.

Jantom and their insurers denied their liability for Terry Anne´s back injuries at work but, at the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court, Judge Master David Harper ruled in favour of the plaintiff after hearing expert testimony that the plastic moulding on the base of the chair had “failed catastrophically” and resulted in two of the five supporting spokes breaking.

The judge awarded Terry Anne Au$933,030 compensation for back injuries at work to reflect the pain and suffering she has experienced since her accident and a further Au$112,000 to cover past, present and future medical expenses. After announcing the compensation settlement, Master David Harper said “Terry Anne has many years ahead of pain and depression. Her life is very different to the life she could have expected if it had not been for her injury. Her enjoyment of life, and the kind of life she is able to lead, have been altered immeasurably.”

Hospital Infections Likely due to Poor Hygiene Claims HIQA

A series of reports produced by the Health Information Quality Authority (HIQA) have revealed that there is a high risk of hospital infections in Ireland due to poor hygiene in hospitals.

Five hospitals were inspected during the summer by HIQA – an independent authority which checks on the quality and safety of the Irish Health Service – and their reports show, among other issues, a general lack of hand hygiene which is likely to result in patients, visitors and staff contracting hospital infections.

The worst of the five hospitals was Waterford Regional Hospital; where inspectors observed medical and nursing staff using only five in twenty-three hand hygiene opportunities during their unannounced inspection and found that soap dispensers provided for staff in the Accident & Emergency Department were either empty or blocked by soap residue.

Mould was also found to be developing in toilets and shower units used by patients and – on one occasion – a patient suspected of having a transmittable infection was treated in a general bay of the Accident & Emergency Department – despite isolation units being available.

Hand hygiene issues which were likely to result in hospital infections were also identified during unannounced inspections at St Michael´s Hospital in Dun Laoghaire, Portiuncila Hospital in Galway, Louth County Hospital in Dundalk and Our Lady´s Hospital in Navan – where the walls of the patients´ toilets were described as “heavily stained”.

Rob Landers – Clinical Director at Waterford Regional Hospital – said that the hospital was “extremely disappointed” with the findings published in the report, but reassured patients that it was safe to attend the hospital.

He said that the Accident and Emergency Department had been extremely busy on the day of the inspection and – although he admitted that this was no excuse for potentially transmitting hospital infections – announced that compulsory hand hygiene training would be introduced for all workers at the hospital in the future.

Waterford Regional Hospital has been given six weeks from the date of the report by HIQA to develop a quality improvement plan and post it on the hospital website.

Compensation for a Burn Injury at Work Awarded at the Circuit Civil Court

A refuse worker, who suffered an injury when a hydraulic cable on a garbage truck burst and sprayed its contents into his eyes, is to receive €15,565 compensation for a burn injury at work after his claim was heard in the Circuit Civil Court.

Kamil Kozlowski (30) from Part West Point in Dublin was emptying bins in Sandyford Road in July 2011 when a hydraulic cable on the back of the garbage truck burst, spraying hot oil into his eyes. An ambulance was quickly on the scene, and Kamil received first aid before being taken to the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital – where his eyes were rinsed and a course of eye drops was prescribed.

However, Kamil – who believed at the time of the accident that he may be permanently blinded – continued to suffer pain in his left eye and experience problems with his vision and, after seeking legal advice, made a claim for a burn injury at work against his employers – Panda Waste Services Ltd of Navan, County Meath.

Panda Waste Services admitted their liability for Kamil´s eye injury, but the two sides could not reach an agreement over how much compensation for a burn injury at work Kamil was entitled to receive. Eventually the case was taken to the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin where it was heard by Judge Alison Lindsay.

The judge, after hearing the circumstances of Kamil´s accident and the injury he sustained, awarded him €15,565 in compensation for a burn injury at work.

Baggage Handler Electric Shock Accident Claim Resolved Out of Court

An employee in the baggage handling section at Dublin Airport, who suffered two electric shocks when attempting to attach a power cable to a Boeing 737, has resolved his baggage handler electric shock accident claim out of court.

Patrick Kemmy (39) from Blanchardstown in Dublin made the electric shock at work compensation claim after suffering an injury while trying to connect the electric cable to the plane at Dublin Airport in April 2009. At first Mr Kemmy believed it was some aspect of the task that he had done incorrectly which led to the first electric shock, but on a second attempt he sustained an even larger shock.

The accident left Patrick suffering from a tingling down his right arm – which he still experiences from time to time  almost four years after the event – chest pains, headaches, a shortness of breath and neck pains. Due to the injuries suffered in the baggage handling accident, Patrick has missed work on nine or ten occasions.

Patrick alleged, in his compensation case, that his employers Servisair and the Dublin Airport Authority had permitted him to use a power cable which was not properly insulated against the ingress of water which, as it was raining on the day in question, led to the electrical accident.

Despite the Dublin Airport Authority and Servisair denying their liability for Patrick´s injuries at first shortly before the case was to be heard at the High Court, officials were advised that the claim had been resolved out of court.

How much Patrick received in his baggage handler electric shock accident claim was not revealed.

Man Awarded Scaffolding Fall Compensation

A man who fell three metres from a scaffolding tower while helping his brother make repairs to the roof of his house has been awarded 750,000 Euros in scaffolding fall compensation for fall from scaffolding after the settlement of his claim was approved in the High Court.

Patrick Rayner from Mitchelstown was helping to replace slates on his brother’s roof in Killmallock, County Limerick when the accident happened during heavy rain in December 2008. As he lent over the top of the scaffolding tower erected to allow access to the roof, Patrick fell three metres to the ground, sustaining a fractured skull injury.

At the High Court, Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard that due to his injuries Patrick has lost his hearing, has a deficit of his taste and smell senses and still suffers from frequent headaches. The judge was also told that through his wife, Julia, Patrick made a claim for scaffolding fall compensation; alleging that the scaffolding tower had not been secured to a permanent structure and that his brother had failed to make adequate provision for Patrick´s health and safety.

As liability for Patrick´s injuries was accepted, and a settlement of 750,000 Euros had been agreed, the case was before Ms Justice Mary Irvine for approval of damages only. After hearing the full details of how the accident occurred, Ms Justice Mary Irvine approved the settlement for scaffolding fall compensation, stating that this was a case of the deeds of a Good Samaritan concluding in tragedy.

Film Cameraman Set Injury Compensation Paid

A cameraman who was hurt in a fall from height accident while working on the production set of the new Keanu Reeves film – 47 Ronin – is to receive film set injury compensation after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The unnamed 62-year-old was working on the film production set at the Shepperton Studios, Middlesex, in May 2010, when he fell through an unguarded opening in the floor. Despite falling over 3 metres, the cameraman escaped with bruises and a suspected broken rib.

The HSE investigation discovered that, although temporary guard rails had been put in place on some of the set, set-edge protection had been omitted in certain areas to ensure that the set maintained an authentic look of eighteenth century Japan.

Warrior Productions Ltd – the firm responsible for the UK production of the film – was fined 300 pounds for being in breach of Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and ordered to pay the cameraman 300 pounds accident compensation for a fall from height.

RTE Employee Wins Work Fall Compensation Awarded to

An employee of RTE, who fell and hurt his elbow while trying to unsnag a curtain during a show rehearsal for The Saturday Night Show, has been awarded 18,500 Euros in work fall compensation at the Circuit Civil Court.

Arthur McMullan (59) of Goatstown, Dublin, was working for the national broadcaster as a props assistant when the accident occurred in the RTE studios in February 2010. Attempting to unsnag the stage curtain from a mirror ball, Arthur fell over a studio floor lamp and injured his left elbow.

In his claim for fall at work fall compensation, Arthur alleged that RTE were aware of the curtain consistently presenting an issue and, in support of his claim, the court was shown a video clip of a broadcast show in which presenter Brendan O´Connor had to hold back the curtains during a performance by doo-wop band The Overtones.

Judge Jacqueline Linnane at the Circuit Civil Court also heard Arthur´s compensation claim for falls at work support by a colleague at the RTE studios, who alleged that the curtains had been an ongoing problem for a number of years. Arthur´s legal representative also advised the judge that Arthur still felt pain in his elbow two years after the injury had been suffered.

After hearing the evidence relating to Arthur´s fall at work compensation claim, Judge Jacqueline Linnane awarded Arthur 18,500 Euros in work fall compensation.

Hospital Work Injury Claims Prevalent in Kettering

Kettering General Hospital Trust has announced that it has paid out more than 300,000 pounds in hospital injury compensation to its own staff in the past five years – the biggest proportion of which was attributable to falls at work compensation.

Claims for injury at work were made on over 40 occasions between 2006 and 2011 for injuries sustained by staff at the hospital due to falls, manual handling injuries, lifting accidents, abuse by patients and incidents involving sharp objects such as needles.

Liz Libiszewski, nursing and quality director at Kettering General Hospital, explained that statistics for injury at work claims settled in any given period do not offer relevant information on safety during that period. “Legal claims – particularly disputed ones – can take several years to settle, so any set of figures would include claims which were a number of different years old,” she said, adding that the establishment’s safety record “is comparable with other hospitals”.

The Trust´s chief executive, Lorene Read went on “Kettering General Hospital takes staff safety very seriously indeed and we have many measures, training schemes and policies and procedures in place to prevent accidents. These include compulsory induction and refresher training courses in lifting and moving patients and other objects, health and safety at work training, and training around the correct use, and disposal, of syringes and needles.

The Trust is insured for hospital work injury compensation claims above the 10,000 pounds excess it has to pay itself.

Asda Worker Awarded Slip Compensation

A former Asda employee has been awarded 27,000 pounds in slip compensation after injuring her back when falling on a broken egg in the store´s warehouse.

Irene Heslop (65) from Fallowfield, Greater Manchester, suffered her injuries in March 2007 while working as a bakery assistant in the Hulme Asda shop in Greater Manchester. Doctors diagnosed her with a suspected spinal fracture which left her not able to walk long distances or lift heavy objects.

As her condition worsened, Irene asked that Asda put her on lighter duties in order that she could return to work. The company refused, and Irene went on to draw Statutory Sick Pay until the six month period expired after which time she was given industrial injury benefit at 24 pounds per week.

After seeking legal guidance, Irene made a compensation claim against the Asda store in Hulme which was supported by doctors at the Manchester Royal Infirmary. After performing their own investigation, Asda recognised that Irene´s lifestyle had been seriously curtailed by the accident and agreed to a 27,000 pounds personal injury compensation settlement.

Avoidable Toe Injury Nets Postal Worker 16,000 Euros

A postal worker, who damaged the big toe on his right foot when a package of floorboards fell onto it, has won his claim for avoidable toe injury at the Circuit Court in Dublin.

Edward Pyne, aged 61, of Balbriggan, County Dublin, brought his claim against An Post after the accident in November 2006 left him needing several operations for an ingrown toenail which had resulted from the injury. He also argued that he had sustained from several infections which had developed in the injured toe.

Circuit Court president, Mr Justice Matthew Deery was shown how An Post should have supplied steel toe-capped boots as part of a postal worker´s uniform, but Edward had previously worn out the pair that had been most recently given to him three years previously. Consequently the shoes he was wearing on the day of the avoidable toe accident offered insufficient protection against such an accident happening.

An Post denied responsibility for Edward´s claim, but Mr Matthew Deery heard testimony that many of Edward´s colleagues at the Balbriggan Post Office also failed to wear the obligatory steel toe-capped footwear, and had An Post provided better supervision of their staff, the accident could have been avoided.

Upholding Edward’s avoidable toe injury compensation claim, Mr Justice Matthew Deery stated that he was satisfied that An Post had failed to provide adequate protective footwear for their staff, and awarded Edward 16,000 Euros in personal injury compensation.

Farm Fatalities Continue to Rise

A conference in Dublin, organised by the Health and Safety Authority, Teagasc and the Farm Safety Partnership Advisory Committee has heard that the number of farm fatalities has already reached 16 this year, and is on its way to passing the twenty year high of 26 farm-related deaths in 2010.

Main speaker at the event, Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney, heard that the highest proportion of deaths on farms was due to accidents with machinery, but that other hazards – such as the handling of livestock and the prevention of falls – also had to be tackled.

The Minister responded by telling those present that “People working on farms need to be more conscious of safety requirements, in particular since in many instances they are working on their own. A significant change in mindset is required if we are to prevent further serious farm accidents”.

He went on to say “By continuously talking about and being aware of farm safety we can together bring about a change of culture and farmer thinking in this area”, and concluded his speech by saying “changing farmers´ attitudes is ultimately about self-regulation”.

The conference, which was hosted in Castleknock heralded the first time that an international meeting on agricultural occupational health and safety had been held in Ireland, and representatives from the United States, Norway, Denmark, Italy and Great Britain were also in attendance.