A 30-year-old chef, who suffered an electric shock while using an allegedly dangerous and defective panini machine in a Dublin hotel, has been awarded damages in the Circuit Civil Court against his employer.

Keith Gunning, who sued Home Fare Services, trading as Kylemore Services, told the court that in March 2013, he was working at Jurys Inn Hotel on Custom House Quay when he was asked to make a panini.

Gunning said the green indicator light on the panini machine had not been working so he tried to remove the plug. On doing so he received an electric shock which had thrown him to the ground.

Circuit Court president Mr Justice Raymond Groarke heard that Mr Gunning lost consciousness and was taken by ambulance to the Mater Hospital in Dublin.

For two months afterwards he had suffered headaches and pain in his right arm and had needed to take time off work for several weeks.

Mr Gunning, of Lissadell Avenue, Drimnagh, Dublin, sued his employer, Home Fare Services, of McKee Avenue, Finglas, Dublin, for negligence. The court heard that Home Fare Services provided catering for the hotel.

The chef claimed the plug had been defective and the machine constituted a trap.

The court heard Home Fare Services admitted liability but alleged Mr Gunning had been guilty of contributory negligence. It claimed he should have turned off the socket switch before trying to unplug the machine.

Judge Groarke said he was satisfied, after hearing the evidence of forensic engineer Karl Searson, that the plug had been defective although nothing, when the plug was in the socket, could have alerted Mr Gunning to this fact.

The judge found Home Fare Services had an unsafe system of work as it had failed to identify and warn that the machine was defective and dangerous.

Judge Groarke said he did not find Mr Gunning guilty of contributory negligence and he awarded him €7,000 damages along with district court costs and a certificate for counsel.


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