4. Hunter v Clyde Shaw plc (1995) The plaintiff was diagnosed as suff ering from lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow) which, it was alleged, was a result of his work as a radiographer at the defendant’s factory. This work involved regular moving of castings on a turntable. The casting weighed up to 5 tonnes and the plaintiff and other employees had repeatedly complained about the nature of the work.
The court in Scotland ruled that the defendant had been negligent and had not taken reasonable steps to prevent the foreseeable injury by providing appropriate equipment.
5. Pickford v ICI (1996) This was the fi rst case where the Court of Appeal actually decided the outcome. The claimant had developed ‘writer’s cramp’ as a result of her secretarial activities. The Court of Appeal ruled that the claimant could recover damages from the employer on the grounds that:
They had failed to supervise her work activities adequately
• They had provided no information, instruction or training with regard to work on display screen equipment.
In addition to those cases that have gone to court, where compensation has been awarded, there are many cases that have been settled out of court. As an indication of the possible scale of settlements, some out of court awards are discussed here.
• • •
Two typists at the Inland Revenue were awarded £82,500 and £79,000 respectively
• A giro processing machine operator at the Benefi ts Agency was awarded £38,000
A council chainsaw operator was awarded £60,000 compensation
Two supermarket checkout operators were each gained settlements in excess of £30,000.
A night editor at the Guardian newspaper was awarded £37,500 in compensation as a result of the work patterns, which were required.
As was mentioned above there is also the possibility of ‘no fault’ compensation under the Industrial Injuries Benefi t Scheme administered through the social security system. However, in the case of WRULDs the awards of compensation have been very rare and not of any signifi cant amount. To qualify for an award under the scheme the claimant has to be suff ering from a specifi c ‘prescribed’ industrial disease.
The Industrial Injuries Advisory Council carried out reviews of a wide range of WRULDs but found that some of them, e.g. rotator cuff syndrome, a shoulder injury, showed insuffi cient epidemiological evidence to recommend their prescription. However, others, including carpal tunnel syndrome, have been prescribed where workplace exposure can be proved.
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