The claimant was walking along an external corridor towards a set of double doors. The doors had a sensor above them to alert them to the presence of pedestrians. As the client walked towards them they swung open but as he went through they swung shut trapping him for between 5 to 10 seconds.

The Judge rejected breaches of the Workplace Regulations finding that there was no evidence that the sensor was unsuitable and there was no evidence of the door closing on anyone. The Judge then focused his attention on the Work Equipment Regulations and considered all the cases on strict liability.

The Judge found that there is a difference between work equipment and the structure and condition of the premises. The doors are part of the building and premises, and are covered by other regulations and so are not work equipment. Doors and gates are specifically dealt with by Regulation 18 of the Workplace Regulations and so are not covered by the Work Equipment Regulations.

Carter -v- Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust.Leeds County Court, 1 June 2007.

Defendants’ witness sinks their case

Cases can often improve after the end of the claimant’s evidence once the defendants witnesses are in the box. In a recent case, the claimant was required to knock out a bolt from a wagon using a 15-inch hammer. This was an unusual job and could have been made safer using a jack to push the bolt out or using a dolly (drift piece of metal) or using a small 8-inch hammer.

The defendants called their manager who was responsible for risk assessment for new jobs and equipment. In cross examination he confirmed that this was a new job that the claimant had never done before and that he did not tell the claimant how to do it or instruct him on the method. The only reason he had not told him how to do it was because he was not a new employee but an experienced worker. The witness then confirmed that he had done the job before many years ago on the odd occasion and that on each time he had assessed the job and used drift metal. It was put to him that therefore he had foresight having done the job before, and he knew how it should be done safely and he knew that a drift metal should be used and knew that he should have instructed the claimant to do the job with the drift metal. The witness confirmed that he should have done so.

After a brief adjournment, the defendants asked for judgment to be entered for the claimant.

Shooter -v- Marcorft Engineering. Pontefract County Court, 8 June 2007.