DAMAGES of $1.4 million were awarded yesterday to a 24-year-old man whose sight was damaged by an accident at work. The High Court heard that no one warned Mr Tin Wai-shing to wear protective goggles or spectacles for work when he joined The World Refrigeration (Hongkong) Co as an apprentice. On March 10, 1984, when Mr Tin was 15, a small piece of metal flew into his left eye while he was cutting a sheet of metal. He was in hospital for a week and later had to have a cataract removed. The court was told he could barely see with his left eye. He was unable to play table tennis or snooker, which he played before the accident, and had to avoid bright light. Mr Tin was dismissed from his job on October 8, 1984, and failed to complete his three-year apprenticeship. Mr Justice Wong said he had heard the case in the absence of the defendant, Mrs Tam Foon-ling, trading as The World Refrigeration (Hongkong) Co, because he was satisfied that she was deliberately trying to delay proceedings by not turning up at court. During the three-day hearing, expert witness Mr Derek Mabbott, the safety officer for Hongkong University, said that safety spectacles ought to have been provided. Safety spectacles cost $20 (goggles are more expensive) but no such protective equipment was available at the workshop at Tang Lung Street. After losing his job as an air-conditioning apprentice, Mr Tin went through a series of jobs, and in some cases lost them because of his poor eyesight. Mr Justice Wong said although Mr Tin was handicapped, he had worked at Tai Fat Hong decoration company since last December and his employer was happy with his work. Mr Justice Wong arrived at $1,501,310 in compensation, including $960,000 for loss of future earnings and $200,000 for pain, suffering and loss of amenities. Deducting sums awarded under the Employees Compensation Ordinance, he awarded the plaintiff $1,407,011.