Winning under common law, losing under Regs
The claimant was a delivery driver who collected 22 pallets from a depot. He asked for a curtain-sided lorry so he could use a forklift truck. The request was refused. On his return he asked for help from colleagues to unload and this request too was refused. He was obliged to use a hand pump truck. On the 11th occasion using this he felt an injury in his back.
The Judge found no breach of the Regs as there was adequate training and equipment – to say use of a forklift would be safer was rejected on public policy grounds as that would necessitate transforming the transport industry as curtain sided lorries would be needed everywhere.
But there were breaches of the common law in failing to respond to the claimant’s request for assistance – he knew his limits and there were plenty of staff who were around and who could have helped.
Jones -v- Exel Logistics Limited, 20 January 2006, Peterborough CC .
The claimant worked at a youth centre for the defendant. He was putting away a deflated bouncy castle. Loading it on to a trolley he injured his back. The defendant said this was a two-man job as stated in a memo and risk assessment saying the castle should never be deflated alone. This had been established two years before the accident.
The claimant and his witnesses gave evidence that the practice was for the manoeuvre to be done alone.
It was held that the defendant was liable, as it should have enforced the system detailed in the memo. However there was contributory negligence in failing to ask for help as it was held the claimant was aware of the memo.
Gibbon -v- Durham CC, 17 January 2006, Newcastle CC.
Whose witness are you?
In a case with a straight conflict of evidence, where the Judge ruled he had to find one party was telling lies, he found one witness for the defendant less than convincing: “He began his evidence catastrophically. When asked to confirm the statement of truth on his witness statement he said ‘near enough’.”
Judgment for the Claimant!
Neil Fox -v- D Hughes Demolition, 11 October 2005, Leeds CC