€500,000 Award for Thumb Injury
A High Court Judge awarded a waitress €500.000 following an incident which necessitated the hotel employee having to undergo surgery for a deep thumb laceration.
The court heard the waitress bled profusely when the bottom of a jug exploded in her hand during breakfast service at the hotel. An engineer who was called to give evidence to the court on behalf of the waitress stated the jug was not suitable for catering use. He described the jug as having an unusually thin handle which would not withstand repeated rapid heating and cooling in a commercial dishwasher.
In delivering judgement in the case Mr. Justice Kevin Cross noted staff at the hotel had made previous complaints to management regarding their concerns about the suitability of the jugs but nothing was done to address the matter.
Commenting on the case before him, the judge noted management had failed to remove the jugs from service despite being made aware of the problem. In its the defence the hotel stated the jug supplier considered the jugs suitable for use in the catering trade. However neither the hotel or the jug supplier provided any evidence to the court to support this claim.
(Ref. The High Court Calliaud -v- Lough Ryan Castle Limited April 2016)
This judgement highlights the requirement for employers to respond to legitimate concerns raised by employees in the course of their work. The case also emphasises the requirement for suppliers to be able to verify the products they supply are fit for purpose.