A kitchen assistant who was injured when she was startled by a faulty drinks machine has been awarded a total of £60,426 in compensation.
The accident occurred while Helen Given, 61, was working in the kitchen of James Watt College in Greenock, Renfrewshire. When the machine began hissing, Ms Given moved a student away from it, then something ‘flashed’ inside the machine, causing her to stumble backwards. Falling heavily, she broke both her hip and her wrist. As a result she was in hospital for ten weeks and still requires the aid of a walking stick.
Ms Given made her claim on the basis that the drinks machine had not been properly maintained. Her employers, while disputing her description of events, admitted the machine was prone to overheating. In the months before the accident, engineers had been called out many times to try to fix it.
On the balance of probabilities, the judge accepted Ms Given’s version of events. The compensation award included £20,000 for pain and suffering and £30,500 to cover loss of wages, both past and future. A further £5,000 was in recognition of help given by her husband after she left hospital. The remainder was made up of interest on the amount.
Employers have a duty to ensure that all workplace equipment is serviceable. Compensation claims may be warranted if faulty equipment causes injury to employees.