The claimant had to grit icy areas as part of her job as school caretaker. She slipped on the ice as she did so.
While the Judge agreed it was a common sense task, he agreed the whole point of risk assessments was to train an employee in a safe way to do the job and to give safe equipment for the job. Here safe training would have been to instruct the claimant to allow ice to melt before she walked on it and safe equipment would have been proper non-slip boots.
Judgment for the claimant and no contributory negligence .
Ann Farrant -v- Essex County Council. Colchester CC, November 2006.
When no defect found in investigation after accident
The claimant had to disconnect the leads from a charger and plug them into the motor of a stacker truck. As he reconnected the lead, the truck surged forward and hit his right ankle. Investigations after the accident could find no defect nor any explanation for the surge.
The defendants argued throughout the claim that we could not succeed under PUWER 1998 as we could not prove a defect. We argued that, if the claimant’s version of events is accepted, there must have been a defect even if it cannot be found. On the morning of the trial, the defendant accepted that, if the claimant were believed, then we must win under PUWER. They still cross examined him to try to prove it was his own fault.
The Judge agreed that the claimant had been consistent throughout from the accident report filled out five minutes after the accident onwards and accepted his account. He found that there must have been a defect and a claim therefore had to succeed under PUWER.
Butcher -v- Parsons Chain Company Ltd. 21 December 2006, Telford County Court.
Meanwhile, we also won a trial at Newcastle where the Judge found that the accident report, which verified the claimant’s version of events and was filled out by him just after the accident, was the most credible source of information in the face of flat denials by the defendant that the accident happened that way.