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Staff nurse assaulted by mental health patient

A staff nurse suffered multiple injuries when she was assaulted by a patient while working on a mental health ward.

The work of our health care professionals has been brought into sharp focus during the coronavirus pandemic.

Time after time we have heard staff say: “I was only doing my job” or “its part of my job”.

What definitely isn’t part of their job is being assaulted by the residents or patients they are caring for.

Details of the incident

Ms R was in a side room with a patient who was agitated. When an alarm sounded, she focused on calming her own patient before leaving the room.

As Ms R entered the corridor, another patient rushed at her and headbutted her, knocking her to the ground.

While Ms R was on the ground, she was kicked in the face and on her arm. The patient then began stamping on her head.

It was a while before colleagues managed to restrain the patient, who had an autistic spectrum disorder and a history of being aggressive to staff.

The nurse suffered injuries to her face, neck, shoulder, back, arm and hip when she was attacked by one of the patients.

Ms R held her employers responsible for her injuries as she was not properly protected whilst carrying out her job, despite there being an appropriate risk assessment in place.

Liability was admitted and an out of court settlement agreed.

If you have been assaulted at work by a resident or patient, you may be eligible to pursue a personal injury claim for compensation. For a no obligation chat about your options, call and speak to our team on 01302 320621.

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Casual approach to safety at Doncaster factory

It’s surprising how many accidents have to happen in the workplace before some employers take proper steps to protect their employees.

A recent case of ours sums this up quite well:

In the summer of 2016, Ms D was injured at work when a forklift truck reversed into her, knocking her to the ground. Fortunately she escaped with only a sprained ankle; her employers, however, were not so fortunate, we sued them and recovered over £1,000 compensation.

The incident became something of a joke amongst employees at the Doncaster factory with Ms D agreeing that she would shout to let the drivers know she was in the warehouse while the drivers agreed to beep their horn to acknowledge her presence.

Not really the best ‘safe system of work’ and sure enough, just eight months later, while Ms D was carrying out checks in the same warehouse, she was hit by a reversing forklift truck. On this occasion, the driver was heading for a roller door that was closing. Instead of stopping and pressing the button to open the door, he reversed back to pull the cord that could also be used to open it.

Ms D wasn’t so lucky this time; the impact left her with bruising, a fractured finger and four weeks off work.

The employer wasn’t so lucky either. We sued them again, but this time the compensation award was over £4,700 as, in addition to reflecting the pain and suffering Ms D endured, the payment also had to cover her loss of earnings and repay her travel and prescription expenses.

Workplace injuries can be particularly nasty. Hopefully, the employers in this case will install a correct safe system of work and avoid a more serious incident in the future.

Making sure that effective health and safety measures are in place is a legal obligation, not an optional extra.

Author: Gail Harris