In the first the claimant was repairing a door closer on the platform of an oilrig when the arm of the closer struck him in the face. He sued his employers and also Talisman Energy who owned the oil platform. The action against the employers was dismissed but the case was allowed to continue against Talisman Energy.

The door closer was “work equipment” for the purposes of the 1998 Regulations being “apparatus” used “at work” every time people on the installation opened and shut the door. Although the door closer was “work equipment” the 1998 Regulations did not apply to the employers where he was working on a piece of equipment owned and provided by a third party, Talisman Energy, and there was nothing to suggest that the employers had anything to do with the door closer other than to send him to work upon it.

The court followed the Court of Appeal decision in Hammond in finding the employer had no control over another’s equipment.

On the other hand Talisman Energy had, to a considerable extent, control of the closer for the purposes of Regulations 3(3)(b)(i)(iii).

Winter maintenance

The second case involved the old favourite of slipping on snow and ice. A child suffered injuries after he lost his footing and fell on a footpath that had been subjected to a downfall of snow. He claimed that the footway ought to have been treated both on the day of the accident and during the course of the previous two days.

He said the council had unreasonably delayed in implementing its winter maintenance plan for treating roads and footways in the area; the footway in question fell under the council’s highest priority for treatment but they failed to carry out salting or gritting operations.

The court dismissed the action saying that the allegations were no more than an assertion merely that it was possible for the council to have treated the footway and failed to address the issue as to why that particular footway ought to have been treated in preference to other high priority footways and why it ought to have been treated sooner than it was.

Although it was claimed that the snow had been on the surface for several days, there was no evidence from which negligence could be established. The claimant ought to have made clear why the footpath should have been treated between the time of the forecast and the time of the accident but had failed to do so.