By HSE East Africa | Tuesday Oct 16, 2018
A court in Mombasa, Kenya has ordered that a former cleaner who sustained back injuries while working at a hotel be paid over 1.8 million shillings in work injury benefits.
The cleaner, David Kibe claimed that he slipped and fell while cleaning the male changing Room at the Sarova Whitesands Hotel, on or about 31st August 2004 leading to blunt injury to the back and displacement of the cartilage between the backbone vertebrae. He details the hotel's negligence to comprise failure to take any or adequate precaution for the safety of the workers exposing him to risk and damage and failure to provide a safe system of work. David also faulted the hotel for retiring him on medical grounds.
The hotel denied any negligence and claimed that if any accident had occurred it was caused by the worker’s own negligence. Fredrick Oroma who worked as David’s supervisor at the hotel testified that David who had worked at the hotel for years as a cleaner had been trained on the cleaning procedures and had the tools to safely carry out the work. The supervisor claimed that the cleaner had worked contrary to instructions by using a water bucket, instead of a hose pipe to clean the floor. He also claimed that the cleaner had failed to use the gum boots provided and instead wore his “safari boots” while cleaning the floor. The supervisor also noted that on the material day, the cleaner had placed a ‘slippery’ signage at the premises indicating that he was aware there was water with soap on the floor.
The ruling by Judge James Rika of the Employment and Labour Relations Court in Mombasa on 28th September, 2018 found that the hotel was negligent and solely liable for the workplace accident, injury and disease occasioned to the worker. The court held that it was the responsibility of the hotel to ensure there was a safe system of work in place, and the tools availed to the worker afforded him protection from risk of slipping and injuring himself.
The court also found that the retirement on medical grounds was hasty unfair and unlawful. Consequently the court ordered that the claimant be granted equivalent of 7 months’ salary at Kshs. 63,945 in damages for unfair and unlawful retirement; cost of medical report, at Kshs. 2,000; and general damages for pain, suffering, loss of amenities and for future cost of physical and psychological healthcare at Kshs. 1,800,000 leading to a total of Kshs. 1,865,945.The hotel will also reimburse the legal costs to the claimant including interest at 14% per annum from the date of Judgment till payment is made in full.
Source: Kenya Law