Monday, 14 April 2014

Crazy no win/no fee case about a finger injured by a door

We often hear of silly 'elf'n safety actions, but the crazy situation with no win/no fee legal companies drives this.  Just look at an example about which we have recently been asked.

The company had a small safe, about the size of the fridge in your kitchen, which was used as a fire safe.  It was placed on a concrete floor and the building was only about 5 years old.
An employee partially opened to door and was apparently distracted when the door, under its own weight about a vertical hinge, closed on her thumb.

The legal company are claiming that the employer:

  • Had allowed the safe to be placed on uneven ground
  • Had permitted the client to use the safe when it was unsafe to do so.
  • Had exposed the employee to a trap which was a foreseeable risk of injury
  • Had failed to ensure that the safe had been correctly installed and was stable as required by the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 6 and 20
  • Had failed to provide suitable training and a system of work for opening the door

OK, all of these can be disputed. For example, the floor was level to within 1mm/m and surely the suggestion that the employer needs to provide training on how to open a door would be laughable.

But, all of these need time and cost a lot to refute.

So, beware of  no win/no fee legal situations and make sure that you have risk assessments, method statements and training records for those situations which aren't as silly as this one.

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