All employers are under a duty to take appropriate measures to safeguard workers against the risk of injury, and the Army is no different. In a case which illustrates this point, a soldier who was injured after volunteering to take part in adventure training has won the right to substantial compensation from the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The soldier, a staff sergeant of 19 years’ experience, suffered a slipped disc the year before the accident and had been signed off by the Army Medical Board as unfit for physical training. Nevertheless, he became bored with office work and volunteered to take part in a cross-country hike. He had only gone about three kilometres when he tripped on a tree root and fell to the ground. He suffered a painful injury to his right arm and shoulder which required surgical intervention.

He had volunteered to take part in the exercise and had been put under no pressure to do so. However, in ruling that the MoD had breached the duty of care it owed him, a judge found that he should have been ordered not to take part in the hike in the light of his recent medical history. The MoD was found two-thirds liable for the soldier’s injuries. The amount of his damages has yet to be assessed.

If you have been injured at work and would like to discuss your case please contact a member of our team for advice.