Defects in workplace equipment can cause devastating injuries and employers should take careful note of a High Court case in which a nurse secured six-figure compensation after an office chair collapsed underneath him.
The nurse, who worked in a medium-secure mental hospital, suffered what he at first thought was a relatively minor injury to the base of his spine after the adjustable chair dropped sharply down to its lowest setting when he sat on it. However, he went on to develop chronic pain syndrome of such severity that he can no longer work and needs a wheeled walking frame to get about.
After he launched proceedings, his NHS trust employer admitted liability for the accident, on the basis that the chair was defective, but continued to dispute the value of his claim. On the second day of the trial of the action, however, the trust agreed to pay £500,000 in settlement of his claim.