The claimant was planing on a machine with a guard missing and lost fingertips. The defendants said the machine was regularly inspected and passed as safe to use without a guard. They denied liability throughout. They argued there was no other way to carry out the job in hand and the risk was reduced to a minimum.

This was in spite of disclosure of an internet advert for a similar machine, showing a guard. The claimant admitted he had used a similar machine in the past with a guard.

The Judge found a clear breach of Regulation 11 of PUWER. The claimant admitted he had used a similar machine in the past with a guard but there was no contributory negligence due to fact the claimant was carrying out the job in the accepted manner at the workplace.

Cerwens -v- Ventrolla Limited, 10 November 2006, Carlisle County Court.

Manhole covers: duty to inspect properly for tipping risks

The claimant stepped on a manhole cover that tilted, causing her foot to fall into the manhole.

There was no dispute a manhole cover that tipped was dangerous. The authority produced its usual evidence of a system of monthly visual inspections by which an inspector, on foot, looked for uneven pavement surfaces.

The Judge found that the authority had failed to prove, as required by section 58 of the Highways Act 1980, that it had taken all reasonable steps to ensure the manhole cover was not dangerous.

He considered it a reasonable system of inspection to require the authority to check the covers were secure and not liable to tilt and that the authority had not produced any evidence to show that it was difficult or impracticable to have a system where manhole covers were inspected to check that they were secure.

Atkins -v- London Borough of Ealing Council (2006) EWHC 2515 QB .