This site was developed as part of a research project funded by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which examined how the Courts are interpreting HSE guidance documents and certain Regulations, e.g. Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations and Manual Handling Operations Regulations, in personal injury claims for work-related upper limb disorders.

Courts sometimes rely heavily on HSE guidance documents to assist in determining what a prudent employer should know, but jealously guard the right to determine how regulations should be interpreted and what constitutes an 'injury' in the legal sense. Considerable time has been spent in some cases examining precisely what was meant by certain parts of the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 and the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992. HSE guidance suggests that following the guidance is not compulsory, but that doing so will normally be enough to comply with the law. However, anecdotal evidence suggested that the Courts' interpretations of certain statutory duties and what constitutes an 'injury' might not be entirely consistent with what might reasonably be expected from reading existing HSE guidance.

Given that the research needed to be based primarily on an analysis of the transcripts of relevant Court Judgments, the first requirement was to obtain such Judgments. However, given that there is no central archive or index of such Judgments and the limited coverage of the legal databases, it was necessary to try to obtain transcripts of any relevant past Judgments and, more importantly, to set up a system which captured information on any relevant Judgments as they occurred.

There already exist a number of networks for the exchange of information on such Judgments, however, these tend to be very informal and clearly do not record the information in a consistent or rigorous way. The research project established a novel medium for the exchange of information on such Judgments, this web site, which summarises known Judgments and invites lawyers, expert witnesses, and litigation specialists in insurance companies and trades unions to supply details of cases which have been decided on the basis of the evidence heard in Court.

A report was submitted to the HSE which considered, among other things: the nature of the WRULDs for which damages were claimed and awarded; the circumstances in which the alleged injuries occurred; and the references to HSE guidance and health & safety regulations which were pertinent to the Judgments. download Research Report from HSE web site]

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What conclusions can be drawn from your web site about the success rate of claims for WRULDs?

A. None. The vast majority of claims for WRULDs never reach Court, most are settled out-of-Court or abandoned. It is impossible to say what proportion of the claims which have been decided on the basis of the evidence heard in Court are included on this web site. Thus, it is impossible to say what proportion of the claims for WRULDs which have been decided on the basis of the evidence heard in Court are successful.

Q. I have frequently read reports in the press which suggest that a considerable number of workers have been awarded damages for RSI yet there are very few such cases recorded on your web site, why?

A. Press reports give an extremely limited and partial view of what is happening in the Courts with respect to WRULDs. Many press reports refer to out-of-Court settlements which are not included on this web site. Also, many press reports refer to any WRULD as RSI even when damages were claimed or awarded for one of the more clearly defined upper limb disorders, e.g. Lateral Epicondylitis.

Q. Why do you not provide the full text of the Judgments on the web site or at least allow visitors to the web site to purchase a photocopy of the transcript of a Judgment?

A. The information currently available on this site has been obtained by using a variety of methods, including where necessary by paying for a Judgment to be transcribed, for which the HSE have provided a budget. However, in some cases it has not been possible to obtain the full transcript of a Judgment. There are also practical and copyright reasons why we cannot display or sell the full text of the Judgments. Most significantly, we simply do not have the resources to provide such a service. If a Judgment has already been transcribed, it is sometimes possible to obtain a copy of the transcript of a Judgment, for a modest fee, by applying to the relevant Court. In some cases a more detailed summary is provided, by agreement with Lawtel, the leading online legal information service. View an example here. Lawtel is a subscription-based service, so links to the full case report, and in some cases the full text of the Judgment, result in a requirement to register with Lawtel. You can subscribe to Lawtel or obtain a free trial at

Last updated: 13/02/2009