Beds, Herts & Bucks

Norwich plumber wins compensation from UEA

A plumber who was hurt when he slipped on a wet bin bag while working in a college library has won £5,217 from the University of East Anglia.

John Spalding, 65, of Norwich, slipped while trying to rise from a confined space at the university's premises in Earlham Road, Norwich.

He smashed three of his teeth and sustained severe facial cuts.

Norwich County Court awarded Mr Spalding the compensation, and it was upheld at the Court of Appeal.

The court heard that Mr Spalding was fixing a leaking radiator beneath a desk in the library, but had to lie on a sodden bin bag while working because the university supplied no anti-slip mats or special overalls.

'No legal duty'

He slipped when he had fixed the leak and was trying to get to his feet, the court heard. His feet slipped on the bin bag and he cracked his head on the desk.

In August last year, a judge at Norwich County Court awarded him £5,217 compensation, although finding Mr Spalding himself 50% at fault.

The university appealed against the ruling, arguing there was no legal duty to provide Mr Spalding with waterproof clothing or a dry working environment.

However, dismissing the university's appeal, Mr Justice Spencer accepted the county court judge's assessment that it was at fault in failing to provide a waterproof mat to work on.

Had it done so, Mr Spalding would have avoided working on a "sodden" surface for two hours, and would probably have escaped injury, he told the court.

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