Liability for washing-up injury

In a case that has implications for almost all employers, a worker at St Anne’s Primary School in Derry received £30,000 in damages and costs including lost earnings after an injury when doing the washing up.

The handle came off a mug that had been brought to work by someone else, and cut the arm and tendon of employee Mrs Rooney. This required extensive medical treatment and a year off work.

The employer, Western Education and Library Board, had argued that the mug was not supplied as work equipment but Justice Deeny decided in the High Court that all mugs, cups, plates and cutlery being used at the school did come within the regulations. Despite the fact the employer had no duty to provide a kitchen in the first place, once they had taken the decision to provide such as facility, they then became responsible for its safe use and for ensuring that equipment was in good condition.

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