WRULD Claims heard in England, Scotland and Wales

References to and/or interpretations of Health and Safety Regulations - McPherson - v - London Borough of Camden

Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992
Contextual Commentary | McPherson - v - London Borough of Camden | Find Other Cases

In this County Court Judgment on the on the 19th May 1999, at paragraph 12, HH Judge Thornton states:

Mrs McPherson complains that Camden was in breach of statutory duty in failing to give her advice as to appropriate usage by her of her keyboard and in failing to assess her use of her keyboard. The relevant Regulations, made under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, are the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1972.

HH Judge Thornton then quotes regulations 2(1)(b) & 4

In the concluding paragraph of the Judgment, HH Judge Thornton states:

Mrs McPherson is entitled to her loss of earnings claim in full. There is a ready explanation as to why an injury giving rise to general damages of less than £4,000 has also given rise to recoverable loss of earnings of nearly £100,000. This is that Camden opted, without justification, to apply to Mrs McPherson's injury its full Ill-Health procedures and, in consequence, to retire her on medical grounds. This retirement occurred in circumstances in which Camden's own actions would have the effect that Mrs McPherson would be unlikely to obtain further employment, except at a greatly reduced salary, for the rest of her working life. Thus, Camden was initially liable for a relatively small breach of statutory duty. It then unilaterally, and very significantly, exacerbated the loss flowing from that breach by its own unjustifiable actions. The consequence must reasonably be that Camden should be held liable for the full loss that it has caused Mrs McPherson since, by its actions, Camden has made that loss directly attributable to its initial breach of statutory duty.


Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992
Regulation 1 Contextual Commentary | McPherson - v - London Borough of Camden | Find Other Cases

In this County Court Judgment on the 19th May 1999, at paragraph 12, HH Judge Thornton states:

The Regulations define a "workstation" to include an assembly comprising display screen equipment and any disk drive, modem, printer, work chair or work desk. Clearly, Mrs McPherson's desk, chair, computer equipment including its keyboard and printer were a "workstation" within that definition to which the two duties that I have set out were applicable and which had to be performed by Camden.


Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992
Regulation 2 & Regulation 4 Contextual Commentary | McPherson - v - London Borough of Camden | Find Other Cases

In this County Court Judgment on the 19th May 1999, at paragraph 13, HH Judge Thornton says:

No assessment or workplan of any kind was undertaken by Camden in June 1993 when the H.P.S. was set up, even though each employee in the H.P.S. was provided with a new computer for his or her own exclusive use.

Then at paragraphs 16 & 17, HH Judge Thornton says:

It is clear to me that had a statutory assessment been made in June 1993, Mrs McPherson would have been advised as follows:

1. She should be provided with, and use, a wrist rest and a flat keyboard.
2. She should resort to an appropriate posture, which would have been demonstrated, whilst using the keyboard.
3. She should take regular breaks from the keyboard, of an uninterrupted length of at least 10 minutes every hour.
4. She should not use the keyboard for a total of not more than 50% of the working day.

There is no reason to doubt that, had Mrs McPherson been proffered this advice, she would have followed it. She was a conscientious worker. She worked to her job description and fulfilled the duties prescribed for her particular post. She was concerned to preserve her health and was clearly particular in looking after her health. The advice would have been given in the form of an instruction from her line manager which she would have been expected to follow and which could have resulted in disciplinary sanctions if she did not follow it. In those circumstances, I am satisfied that had appropriate advice been given, it would have been followed with the result that Mrs McPherson would have used her keyboard in both posts, in administration up to January 1994 and in accommodation thereafter, to a significantly less extent overall, with appreciably more breaks of much greater regularity so that she never worked for stretches of more than 50 minutes in any 60 minutes and with the use of a wrist rest I flat keyboard and better posture. As it was, her unassessed working methods were at variance with these recommendations in a way which, in each case, was to her disadvantage.

At paragraph 20, HH Judge Thornton says:

........ it is likely that some overall limitation would have been placed on her keyboard activities as part of the assessment required by Regulation 2.

At paragraph 21, HH Judge Thornton says:

Given that Mrs McPherson had never used a keyboard nor a typewriter on a regular basis in any previous job, I do not accept that she should, by using her own initiative without the advice of others, have been expected to take any of the steps suggested by Camden as ones she should have taken without advice. I, therefore, reject the allegations of contributory negligence and find that Camden was in breach of its statutory duties owed to Mrs McPherson.

At paragraph 41, HH Judge Thornton says:

In this case, I have found that Mrs McPherson's De Quervain's condition was linked to her keyboard usage. However, the De Quervain's might also have been linked to an underlying predisposition to that condition. There is no way that the possible contribution of such a predisposition, if any, can be ascertained. However, it is clear that limiting the use of both Mrs McPherson's wrist and thumb to the usage that should have been recommended would have significantly reduced 'the risk of contracting De Quervain's. Equally, usage which significantly exceeds the parameters which should have been recommended, even for short periods, would materially increase the risk of De Quervain's. It follows that, on this ground alone, Mrs McPherson has established the necessary link between breach of duty and damage on the balance of probabilities. On my findings, she has proved that she should have been advised to limit her keyboard usage in defined ways that she would have followed that advice had it been provided to her; that her actual usage was significantly in excess of that usage; that she was not negligent in adopting that usage; and that her De Quervain's can be linked medically and on the facts of this case to that usage. Mrs McPherson succeeds as to liability.


Last updated: 14/05/2013