Year: 1991 (Date of Decision: 23 May 1991)
Forum, Country: High Court (Queens Bench Division), United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Standards, Rights: Negligence; Right to decent work; Right to health
Summary Background: The plaintiff worked for the defendants as a cleaner. She was not warned of the dangers arising from frequent use of detergents and other cleaning materials and she received no instructions from the defendants to wear the gloves that were provided.
As a result of her hands coming into contact with cleaning agents, she developed dermatitis on her hands and wrists in 1982. The condition spread to other parts of her body and by 1985 she had developed erythroderma.
She received medical treatment and after periods of sick leave she had to give up work in November 1986.
Holding: The Court held that the defendants had failed in their duty to warn the plaintiff of the dangers of handling chemical materials with unprotected hands and to instruct her in the need to wear rubber gloves [p. 138]. Therefore, the plaintiffs were liable in negligence to pay the plaintiff damages assessed at £22,000 including general damages for pain, suffering, and loss of amenity; special damages; damages for future loss of earnings; damages for future outlays and losses other than earnings [p. 139].
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