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Conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome have been caused by train drivers having to


make repetitive hand movements several times a minute


When the train causes a strain


Chris Price explains why employers have an ongoing duty of care to conduct suitable risk assessments so that employees are protected from the risk of injuries, like carpal tunnel syndrome, as several court cases have illustrated


PAGE 30 MAY 2011 A


number of recent cases, some involving Tocs, have highlighted the need for employers to prevent, or adequately control, identified risk of injury to their workforce. Central to this process is the need to conduct a suitable risk assessment.


In Allison v London Underground 2008 (Court of Appeal)


the claimant had been employed by London Underground as a tube train driver. She developed tenosynovitis and it was accepted that her injury was due to the prolonged use of a traction brake controller. The design feature had been introduced at the suggestion of two experienced train drivers, but had not been the subject of any specific ergonomic assessment at that stage. The claimant’s injury arose because she had received no special


instructions as to how to correctly position her thumb in relation to the chamfered end of the brake controller. Liability was therefore established under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, because the employer had failed to carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment, which would have identified the need for an ergonomic opinion. This would have highlighted the importance of drivers being trained in the best way to hold the brake controller, to minimise the risk of injury. Similarly, in Thomas, Rogan and Studholme v Arriva Trains


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