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Meat Company Not Liable for Worker’s Knife Injury

Published: 30 September 2014, in categories: Personal Injury Updates | Legal Updates | News and Updates

In clearing a meat processing company of liability for a nasty knife wound suffered by a teenage production line worker, a judge has paid tribute to the company’s careful training of its staff and its responsible attitude to their health and safety.

The 18-year-old worker was handling a tray of meat when his extremely sharp knife inflicted a slashing injury to his right index finger. The wound caused serious nerve and tendon damage and, had he won his case, he would have been awarded £25,000 for his pain, suffering and loss of amenity.

His lawyers argued that he was placed under unreasonable pressure of time on the fast-moving production line and that there was a general practice of staff pushing trays without first sheathing their knives. Much of the evidence in the case focused on a hole in a Kevlar glove which should have protected his right hand.

The judge found that the company was in breach of its statutory duty in that the glove was not maintained in an efficient state or in good repair. However, in dismissing the teenager’s claim, he ruled that the immediate cause of the accident was his own failure to tell his supervisor about the defect.

The accident could not be blamed on pressure of time or on sloppy health and safety practices. The teenager had been given clear and adequate instruction on how to handle sharp blades; the company took its health and safety obligations seriously and had taken ‘every practical step’ to protect him from injury.

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