A former Kowloon Motor Bus Company worker who fell off a wheeled office chair in a bus station cubicle and hurt his back has won a $270,178 payout from the firm. Madam Justice Clare-Marie Beeson made the ruling in favour of 50-year-old former bus station regulator Tam Kwok-man. The Court of First Instance heard that on September 12, 1996, Mr Tam was in the kiosk of the Sui Wo Court bus station handing a schedule to a driver. As he leaned over, the chair lost one of its wheels, depositing Mr Tam on his rear. As Mr Tam fell to the ground, the upper part of his back hit the door frame, sending pain shooting down to his legs. He brought a personal injury action against KMB claiming the company had failed to provide a safe workplace. Madam Justice Beeson agreed yesterday. She said although a chair on wheels was 'eminently suitable' for use by bus regulators, the small size of the kiosk meant people could not get full use of the chair. 'I am satisfied KMB owed a duty to Tam to provide furniture of suitable standard for use by the bus regulators,' she said. 'If furniture was provided by [someone] other than the [Kowloon Motor Bus Company], the company had a duty to ensure that such furniture was suitable for its purpose and that it was safe. 'In this case, that was not done.' Since the accident, bus station regulators had been seated on folding steel chairs for their 11-hour shifts, the court was told. The court had heard Mr Tam suffered a minor back sprain following his spill from the office chair and was given three days' sick leave. Evidence that Mr Tam took 159 days of sick leave between September 12, 1998, and November 5, 1999, was also submitted. KMB fired him over the sick leave issue, but that decision was overturned after the intervention of the KMB Federation of Trade Unions. Mr Tam was sacked on August 17, 2000, for misconduct, but that incident was not connected to the present case.