A waitress who broke a wine glass while cleaning it has been awarded €25,000 for her injuries after judge found her employer had not given her sufficient training.
Judge John O'Connor said that Daniela Tricolici (24) ought to have received training in the safe way of polishing wine glasses when she worked in Ravellos Restaurant, Clonsilla, Dublin, five years ago.
"I am satisfied on the balance of probability that the defendant in this case was negligent. There was no training provided and it should have been," said the judge. He yesterday awarded Ms Tricolici €25,000 damages and her legal costs, at the Circuit Civil Court.
Forensic engineer Conor Murphy, giving evidence on behalf of Ms Tricolici, said she had demonstrated how she had been holding and polishing the glass with a towel when the breakage happened.
He told barrister Conor Kearney, for Ms Tricolici, that she had been doing it wrongly and should have been stopped by her employer and shown how to do it in a safe manner.
She should have been trained initially how to do it safely, he said. Mr Murphy said Ms Tricolici, as demonstrated in a photograph provided to the court, had held the base of the wine glass in one hand while polishing the bowl with her other hand in a twist and turn fashion when the stem had snapped.
Had she been shown how to do it safely, she would have been cupping the bowl of the glass in one hand while using the polishing cloth with her other hand.
Having polished the glass in such a manner it would have been highly unlikely on the day that the stem, even if it had a hairline fracture invisible to the naked eye, would have snapped and injured her.
Mr Murphy told Philip Fennell, for the restaurant owner, he could not pinpoint any specific provision in legislation or a particular manual on glass polishing. But he had seen proper and safe methods of glass polishing demonstrated on video by a glass maker.
Mr Fennell told the court it would be imposing a heavy burden on an employer to ask them to train someone when there was no accepted training regime or pattern of training in existence as to how a particular task should be performed.
Ms Tricolici, of Ravenswood Road, Clonsilla, Dublin, who now works for a bank, said the stem of the glass had snapped as she polished it in the bar of the restaurant on September 18, 2015, and it punctured her left little finger.
She was taken to Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown, where the wound was sutured.
Medical reports revealed she had a small scar and that damage to a nerve in her finger had not properly healed and she still suffered hypersensitivity in the area of the injury.
She told the judge her finger was affected when touching items and in cold weather she often had to wear a glove.
Judge O'Connor said he was satisfied the defendant, ABE Restaurant Limited, Weaver's Row, Clonsilla, had been negligent.
It was accepted that training for Ms Tricolici had not been provided, and it should have been.