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Steel and Tube Industries Ordered to Compensate Former Employee UGX 100m


The High Court in Kampala has ordered Steel and Tube Industries Limited to pay 100 million Shillings to their former employee Philip Wangala who was injured while on duty.   

According to the Civil Division Judge, Boniface Wamala, the money will attract an interest of 10 percent per annum from the day the order was issued until when it will be paid in full. The judgment arises from the 2013 case in which Wangala filed a case against his employer seeking compensation. 

The records before the Court indicate that Wangala was a machine helper until October 14th, 2013 when his right hand was crushed by the leveling machine in the factory premises while on duty. The victim lost three index fingers and a forearm leading to permanent incapacity. 

Records further show that Wangala was consequently terminated by the company on medical grounds on 4th 2016, given statutory compensation from the insurers after deducting medical expenses but the same did not cover general damages as a result of the company’s negligence.  

Wangala told the court that Steel and Tube were solely responsible for the injury sustained by him as a result of their negligent conduct and failure to implement safety measures to protect him from injury, for which he is entitled to compensation by way of damages.  

On their part, Steel and Tube denied the allegations and stated that Wangala was duly inducted and instructed on how to fulfill his role as a machine helper. Court heard that Steel and Tube have at all times provided a safe working environment for all persons in its employment, obtained insurance cover for Wangala and reasonably provided the necessary safety gear. 

The court also heard that the leveling machine at which Wangala was stationed was and still is in a proper working condition and no other employee has ever sustained any injury in the course of work.

Steel and Tube further told the Judge that they had taken reasonable precautions expected of them as an employer and they are not liable in general damages or any other form of compensation. They asked for the dismissal of the suit with costs.

In his judgment, Justice Wamala indicated that there is collaborative evidence that Wangala while doing his work of feeding the leveling machine with the expanded mesh, a sharp end of the mesh got stuck in his glove, pulled his hand, the hand entered the rollers and got crushed, cutting off his three fingers and part of the forearm.

“On the evidence before the Court, it was admitted by the Defendant/Steel and Tube that they owed a duty of care to the Plaintiff\Wangala. They only denied breach of the said duty stating that they performed their obligations in ensuring a safe working environment for the Plaintiff and other workers”, said the Judge.

According to the Judge, he is satisfied on a balance of probabilities that Steel and Tube breached their duty to provide a safe working environment to Wangala, thereby leading to the injuries sustained by him. He thus held that they are therefore liable for negligence.

Although Wangala asked for punitive damages, the Judge declined to order Steel and Tube to pay them arguing that the company undertook a range of mitigation measures including paying him terminal benefits, statutory compensation, and medical expenses.  This, the Judge said implied that  Steel and Tube did not act with impunity, bad faith, arbitrariness, or such other gross conduct on their part. 

“The Plaintiff acknowledged that he was paid his terminal benefits calculated at UGX 997,406/= and a sum of UGX 8,280,000/= as statutory Compensation after deduction of medical expenses amounting to UGX9,927,500/=”, said the Judge.

Steel and Tube was ordered to pay the costs of the suit.


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Steel and Tube Industries Ordered to Compensate Former Employee UGX 100m

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