COURTROOM NEWS 02/02/2024
Court Orders Firm To Pay Employee N10 Million As Compensation For Permanent Disability
His Lordship, Hon. Justice John D. Peters of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, Lagos Judicial Division on Thursday 10th May in a judgment ordered Leoplast Industry Limited (Defendant) to pay to the Mr. Frank Nnamdi (Claimant) the sum of Ten Million Naira (=N=10,000,000.00) as compensation for the injury and permanent disability of caused by poor factory safety environment and procedures for the industrial accident which occurred on the 15/11/13 that led to the amputation of his entire five fingers on his right hand during the Claimant schedule of duties as a machine operator at the Defendant factory at Plot 2E Block A Oshodi Industrial Layout Scheme, Osolo way, Aswani, Lagos State.
The case of the Claimant as revealed from his evidence in chief is that that he was employed as a Machine Operator by the Defendant and his employment was confirmed on the 28th April 2014; that on the 15th of November, 2013 while on duties at the Defendant premises the Claimant sustained an injury that resulted in the damage and amputation of his five right hand fingers; that the accident occurred while the Claimant was operating the Defendant production machine; that the accident could have been avoided if the Defendant had taken precautionary measures by providing protective hand gloves for the Claimant; that the Defendant machine had been faulty for a long time and the Defendant neglected to repair the machine despite several complaints to the Defendant supervisor; that two of his colleagues had experienced a similar industrial accident in the Defendant premises at Plot 2E Block A Oshodi Industrial Scheme Osolo way, Aswani Lagos State; that he bled profusely after the accident before he was taken to Ago Medical Centre by the Defendant, where he received treatment and was hospitalized from the 15/11/13 to 14/2/14; that the he was discharged from the hospital on the 14/2/14; that the loss of his fingers was due to the poor safety standard.
The defendant argued that it gave the Claimant adequate instruction regarding the functions of the machines as well adequate safety gears; that the accident which resulted to the Claimant on 15/11/13 was due to improper use of the machine by the Claimant; that the Claimant was negligent in the course of his duties and that it paid the hospital bills of the Claimant as well as gave him compensation.
After reviewing the argument of the parties, the Court Presided by Hon. Justice J. D. Peters expressed thus;
“I have read and understood all the processes filed by learned Counsel on either side of this case including the 11 page reply address filed by the Defendant. I heard the oral testimonies of the witnesses called at trial, watched their demeanor and carefully evaluated all the exhibits tendered and admitted. I also heard the oral submissions of learned for the parties. Having done this, I narrow the issue for the just determination of this case down to be as follows –
“Whether the Claimant has proved his case to be entitled to any or all the reliefs sought.”
Evidence led shows that the Claimant has lost his entire five fingers. That is a permanent loss. The five fingers cannot be replaced. It is a permanent disability. The Claimant will not be able to use his right hand the way he was used to since the entire fingers are gone forever. There is no market where a finger or any human body part may be purchased to seek a replacement. I note in particular the evidence in chief of CW2 & CW3 which pointed to the occurrence such accidents in the Defendant in the time past with employees of the Defendant sustaining injuries and being treated in the same shabby and inhuman manner as the instant case.
Considering the facts, the evidence led and the entire circumstances of this case, I award the sum of Ten Million Naira (=N=10,000,000.00) as compensation in favor of the Claimant and payable by the Defendant.
The above sum is to be paid with interest at the rate of 10% per annum from today till final liquidation.
The Defendant is ordered to pay to the Claimant the sum of Two Hundred Thousand Naira (=N=200,000.00) only as cost of this action.
All the terms of this Judgment are to be complied with within 30 days from today.
Judgment is entered accordingly.