A cleaner vs. Esplanade

I'll be waiting for the outcome of this case eagerly. Is the accident due to the cleaner's own carelessness? Or is it really due to the unsafe workplace?

A cleaner who fell while on the job at the Esplanade three years ago is suing its management and the cleaning company which hired her.

Madam Norliah Ismail, 44, blames the theatre's dim lighting for her fall and is accusing the two parties of failing to provide her a safe workplace.

Damages aside, she wants the Esplanade and cleaning company Chye Tiam Maintenance to foot her medical bills.

She has gone from holding that cleaning job and moonlighting as a school bus attendant and a cook to spending most of her time in a wheelchair.

'It is very difficult for me to walk, sit or sleep, and my family must take care of me all the time,' she told The Straits Times.

The Esplanade and Chye Tiam Maintenance are fighting the lawsuit on the grounds that the accident was a result of her own carelessness. They say the staircase has always been well lit and noted the presence of a handrail where she fell.

They add that although she claimed to have been injured in the fall, she had not sought medical treatment immediately.

In her court documents, she denied any hesitation in seeing a doctor.

Her statement of claim indicated that she was assigned to clean a theatre at about 5am on March 19, 2006.

Coming down a flight of stairs to get to the theatre, she claimed she was unable to use the handrail as she had a cleaning cloth in her right hand and a trash bag in her left.

From Straits Times, "Cleaner sues Esplanade".

Nine months after Madam Norliah Ismail's fall, a patron at a performance in the Esplanade tumbled down another flight of stairs in the building.

The resulting head and neck injuries killed retiree Wong Mui Li, 55, who was believed to have been making her way to the toilet during a performance on Dec 25, 2006.

In ruling the death an accident in March the following year, the coroner's report noted that the investigating officer had testified that the luminous strips lining each step and the footlights along the wall had provided sufficient light for the stairway.

The Building and Construction Authority also pointed out that the staircase was not too steep and that a handrail was in place for users.

The Background Story from the above article, "Theatre patron died after fall in 2006".

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