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Accident at Work – Crack on surface leads to €55,000 award of damages

In this month’s Health and Safety Review, the importance of maintenance of a crack on the surface of a ramp was highlighted in the case of Jancelewicz v Tipperary Cheese Company Limited, High Court, Waterford, June 2012.It was reported that a factory worker suffered a fractured wrist and crushed arm when the trolley he was wheeling (which was laden with products which weighed 576kg) went off course when he was pushing the trolley up a ramp. It was reported that the trolley went off course due to a crack in the surface of the ramp.As the worker tried to avoid the crack, the trolley deviated and his elbow became wedged between the trolley and the wall and he suffered a fractured wrist and his arm was crushed. It was reported that he was in plaster of paris for seven weeks and although his employer was happy to keep him on in his role, he wished to move on and now worked in a supermarket.Mr. Justice Eamon De Valera stated that medical reports indicated the onset of arthritis and there was a clicking noise in the man’s damaged wrist. Having regard to the Injuries Board’s Book of Quantum, the employee was awarded €55,007 and costs.As highlighted in this month’s review, the nature of the injury and award indicated that the injury to the wrist/arm fell under the “significant and ongoing” category of injury as outlined in the Personal Injury Assessment Board’s Book of Quantum.A reminder to tend to any cracks or flaws in or around the workplace as otherwise it could end up being a costly repair!

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