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Duty of Care in the Workplace*

Warehouse worker uses a hand truck to carry boxes as his manager checks inventory in the background.

David worked for a well known food producing company in the midlands. He was employed as a general operative. Part of his duties involved placing in and removing stock from large refrigerator rooms. It was strictly stipulated to all employees using the refrigerator rooms that the doors had to be kept closed at all times and locked at the end of each shift. One evening David was working a late shift. This late shift had a skeletal staff.

David was working alone inside one of the refrigerator rooms, he had various pallets to stack. He finished what he was doing just towards the end of his shift and went to let himself out. To his absolute shock he found the door was locked. He was trapped inside. Luckily there was a panic alarm which he immediately pressed and waited anxiously for someone to release him. Nobody came. It subsequently transpired the panic alarm was not working and the maintenance personnel had not got around to fixing it.

After 20 minutes David began to panic, he was freezing at this stage. David thankfully had his mobile phone in his pocket. He called his wife who in turn rang the company’s security company. David was eventually freed from the refrigerator room after 1 hour. He was taken to hospital and treated for hyperthermia. David subsequently developed an anxiety disorder for which he had to have counselling. David took advice and brought a claim against his employer.

His claim was settled out of Court as his employer accepted their standards of health and safety in the work place were unsatisfactory in:

  • Not having a checking system for employees using the refrigerator rooms
  • For failing to have the panic alarm fixed.

If you have been involved in a similar situation and are unsure whether you have grounds to take a claim against your employer contact our offices for a no obligation consultation by telephone or an immediate meeting in our offices, which ever suits your needs.

Immediate Callback from a Solicitor or Freephone: 1800 93 88 93

C.M. Haughey Solicitors, Christchurch Hall, High Street, Dublin 8, Tel (01) 421 4220, Fax (01) 454 8338

*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.

*This statement is made in compliance with Reg. 8 of the SI 518 or 2002.