Walking on ballast as a result of power failure causes back injury

A train failed due to defective overhead wires. The claimant train driver then had to walk groups of passengers on several trips over ballast to and from the nearest station, resulting in a back and shoulder strain.

We argued the failure to maintain the wires made the employer liable for any consequent injury.

The defendant had relied upon Lewis -v- Avidan to say there had to be some link between the failure of equipment and the injury.  They appealed against our judgment.
The Judge held that the failure of the power line was the main cause of the actions which had caused injury.

The employer’s appeal was dismissed and leave to appeal to Court of Appeal refused.

29 June 2007, Newcastle County Court.


Autistic children

The claimant was a social worker at a home for children with autism. He held one child’s hand while another colleague held his other hand and walked the child to the dining room. The child suddenly flopped to the floor and yanked the claimant down.

The child’s care plans had numerous entries about his tendency to fall to the floor.

The defendant denied that manual handling risk assessments applied to the action of holding his hand.

The Judge held:

1) Holding the child’s hand carried the foreseeable risk of his dropping and thus the 1992 manual handling regulations applied applied
2) There was a breach of manual handling regulations for failing to reduce the risk to the lowest level reasonably possible until after the accident, namely when new systems for escorting the child and training for staff to handle the child were introduced.

18-19 April 2007. Nottingham County Court.