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Caterer awarded €16k for tuna can finger cut

a catering assistant had lost sensitivity and feeling in her left index finger after cutting it while opening a tin can as she was preparing food, the Circuit Civil Court heard yesterday.

Judge Matthew Deery said the issue in the case revolved around whether or not 30-year-old Katarzyna Wygrzywalska should have completely removed the lid from a 4lb tin of tuna with a hand-held opener, or left the lid still partly attached to the can before pouring out the fish meat.


Barrister Kevin D’Arcy told the court that Ms Wygrzywalska, of The Village, Porterstown, Clonsilla, Dublin, had to invert the can with both hands to shake the tuna into a colander in order to remove brine.

He said the tin had slipped through her hands and her left index finger had been lacerated by the sharp-edged lid which was still attached to the tin.

Judge Deery, awarding Ms Wygrzywalska damages of €16,000 against Inspiring Ideas Limited, a restaurant in the Blanchardstown Shopping Centre, said she had worked for the restaurant owner for five years and continued to work there.

The judge said the restaurant owner had to be complimented on having taken extensive steps to promote health and safety on his premises by having engaged a safety consultant to advise on safety matters.

Best practice should have been to remove the lid completely and dispose of it before turning the tin upside down to extract the tuna and brine and Ms Wygrzywalska should have been advised to open tins in this way.

Judge Deery said Ms Wygrzywalskas’s hands had slipped on spilled brine on the sides of the tin and had cut her finger on the lid which was still partly attached to the tin.

He said Ms Wygrzywalskas had to have three stitches inserted in her left index finger.

She had been left with a scar and numbness in the area. Medical advice had been that microscopic surgery would be required to repair a damaged nerve at a cost of about €8,000.