Blog - Accidents at Work

Lighthouse Worker Wins £21k Compensation after Hurting Back in Boat

A lighthouse worker has been awarded £21,500 compensation after injuring her back whilst in a boat.

Rosemary Cairns was working as a finance assistant at the time of the accident in October 2009. She was paying a visit to the lighthouse on the Isle of May (located in the Firth of forth) to carry out an inventory check on equipment.

She was in a rigid inflatable boat as it set off from Pittenweem on its journey. As they approached the island, the sea became choppy and the waves became higher. The boat rode up on the waves a couple of times before slamming back down onto the water.

The first time this happened Mrs Cairns felt something in her back. On the second slam down she screamed out in agony as she felt pain in her back. She was taken to hospital and had to take 15 months off work with her back injury.

STV reports that she sought damages for her injury from both the owners of the boat and her employers the Northern Lighthouse Board.

A Judge in the case ruled that the speed the boat was travelling at (17 to 18 knots) was too fast for the sea conditions. This speed caused an increased risk in the boat slamming and was hence caused a foreseeable risk of injury to passengers.

It was also deemed that the safety briefing given by Calypso Marine – the owners of the boat – was inadequate because it did not relate the need for bracing when travelling.

It is reported that Mrs Cairns will now receive £21,500 compensation.

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