Sin Yuk Lin v R.e. Dietz Co Ltd

Court:District Court (Hong Kong)
Judgement Number:DCCJ4363/1969
Judgment Date:13 Feb 1970
DCCJ004363/1969 SIN YUK LIN v. R.E. DIETZ CO LTD

DCCJ004363/1969

IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF HONG KONG

HOLDEN AT VICTORIA

CIVIL JURISDICTION

ACTION NO. 4363 OF 1969

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BETWEEN
SIN YUK LIN (a female) Plaintiff
AND
R.E. DIETZ COMPANY LIMITED Defendant

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Coram: Cons, D.J.

Date of Judgment: 13 February 1970

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JUDGMENT

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1. This action arises out of a factory accident. The plaintiff, a lady now in her middle thirties, was employed by the defendant to operate an electric press which punches holes in pieces of metal destined to become the bases of kerosene hurricane lamps. The system of work on such machines is that the operator, sitting in front of them, feeds in pieces of metal, technically known as "founts" and resembling small, cheap tin bowls. With a bamboo stick she pushes them along a slide in the front part of the machine to a point where they will meet the die, then by the depression of a foot pedal causes the die to be plunged into the fount, thereby punching the necessary holes. Upon the retraction of the die the fount is ejected through the rear of the machine by means of compressed air. To prevent accidental contact between the plunging die and the operator's hands the appropriate area of the machine is protected by a fixed metal cage or guard. The operation is easily understandable by reference to the photographs produced before me, and I also had the benefit of seeing a short excerpt from a moving film. If properly observed the system is perfectly safe and could under no circumstances result in injury to the hands of the operator.

2. Such was the system described to me by the defence witnesses and which they said was in operation as far as the plaintiff was concerned on the day in question. But the practice which the plaintiff said was adopted by her on that day was radically different. Firstly the machine was not provided with a guard of any kind, either fixed, moveable or otherwise; secondly the plaintiff fed the machine by hand instead of with a bamboo stick; and thirdly the machine was not equipped with any air ejector at all, so that the processed founts had also to be removed manually. She had complained to the foreman of the lack of the proper equipment but was told to carry on regardless. This she did, feeding in and removing the founts with her bare hands...

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