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Hampshire Police v Taylor [2013] EWCA Civ 496 - 09/05/13


The Claimant was a police officer who was ordered to clear plants out of a cannabis factory. She suffered personal injury when she cut her thumb opening a window in the cannabis factory. The only risk which had been considered was of irritation to the skin as a consequence of contact between skin and plants.

The Claimant won at first instance and recovered £5,000, the court finding that she should have been provided with thick gloves and that the Chief Constable was in breach of the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992, SI 1992/2966.

The Court of Appeal, dismissing the Chief Constable's appeal, held that once a risk was shown to be more than de minimis an employer was under a duty to provide protective equipment. In this case, the risk was low but not de minimis and as a consequence the employer should have provided thick gloves. The Court of Appeal also found that dismantling the factory involved a wide range of tasks, not simply uprooting cannabis plants. The Claimant might at any stage have been asked to perform a task which risked her coming into contact with sharp objects. That once it was shown that an employer had a duty to provide protective equipment, there was an presumption that the employee would have used that equipment.