A ROSYTH labourer scalded by hot water while washing his hands has won thousands of pounds in damages.

Lee Birch, 41, sued his former employer after the incident which left him in pain and requiring hospital treatment.

Now a sheriff has ruled that George McPhie and Son, of Linlithgow, was at fault over a heater that delivered "excessively hot water".

Mr Birch suffered loss, injury and damage as a result and was awarded £3,395.

The Personal Injury Court in Edinburgh heard that he had gone to wash after finishing work for the day.

His left hand was scalded when he switched on the hot water tap.

A burns expert said the water temperature would have had to be between 60 and 70 degrees to cause Mr Birch's injury.

He was discharged from Queen Margaret Hospital in Dunfermline after treatment but had to apply dressings to the affected area for several weeks and his wife had to help him with domestic chores such as washing.

The court was told the water heater, which had been there since at least 1986, was tested annually and there had been no issues before the incident in May 2018.

The company argued that it had presented "no foreseeable risk of injury".

Sheriff Robert Weir said no explanation had been given for the water being so hot and concluded there must have been a fault in the system.

It appeared that the annual inspection of the heater had been limited to testing the water temperature.

No internal examination had been done and the company had failed to assess potential risks.

Shortly before the incident, Mr Birch had argued with his boss after revealing he planned to quit for a job with Fife Council.

The sheriff said their relationship had deteriorated but he considered Mr Birch’s evidence was “essentially a credible and reliable account".

He added: “I believed the pursuer when he said that the injury was caused by the water emanating from the water heater.

“No other plausible explanation was advanced for how the pursuer could have come by the injury which resulted in treatment in hospital.”