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Alison Dugmore and Swansea NHS Trust and Morriston NHS Trust


Personal injury, negligence, claim for damages, breach of duty


 Court of Appeal (Civil Division)

Act, Regulation or Reference:

Control of Substances Hazardous to Health ('COSHH') Regulations 1988 and 1994

Date: 1997


Ms D's claim for damages on the grounds that her allergic reaction (eczema) by having to use latex gloves during her employment as a nurse was dismissed in the Cardiff County Court.
The dual claim was for negligence, and under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health ('COSHH') Regulations 1988 and 1994.
It raised an issue of some importance, for nurses and others, in regards to the correct interpretation of those regulations and the extent of the duty they impose.
Ms D appealed that decision.

The Decision

It was recognised in medical circles that latex could cause an allergic reaction in certain individuals and the provisions of the COSHH regulations placed an absolute duty on employers to ensure that exposure to such substances is prevented or controlled.
In the judge's opinion the Swansea NHS Trust hospital had failed to do that and allowed the claimant's appeal with costs.
With regard to the appeal against the decision to dismiss her claim against Morriston NHS Trust, the judge found that by the time that the claimant got to Morriston, she had already been sensitised to latex during her previous
employment at Singleton hospital in Swansea. He found that Morriston would in any event only be liable for the pain and suffering arising out of the an anaphylactic attack she suffered from handling a box that had contained these
He said , “All the claimant's damage flowed from the sensitisation for which Singleton are responsible. We would allow the appeal against them.”


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