The claimant was employed by the first defendant as a maintenance fitter.

He was injured when repairing a truck owned by the second defendant. The steps and grab handle fitted to the chassis broke as he climbed down from the truck.

The case against the first defendant (employer) was pleaded on breaches of PUWER 1998, Employers Liability (Defective Equipment) Regulations 1969 and negligence.

The Judge found he was bound by Hammond v Commissioner of the Police for the Metropolis and therefore he could not find a breach of PUWER against the employer. He found the claimant was working on the truck as a whole and there could be no distinguishing different parts of the truck for these purposes (the claimant had attempted to say the steps were distinguishable from the bolt that had broken when being worked upon in the case of Hammond) and he could find no liability in negligence or under the 1969 Defective Equipment Regulations either.

The case against the second defendant.

The Judge found there were breaches of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and negligence in the defective steps owned by the truck owner and found for the claimant against the second defendant.

Douglas Rollings -v- Terex UK & Sims Metal Limited. Cardiff County Court, 26 May 2006.

Lack of Risk assessments and unsuitable work equipment

The claimant was working on a line for Nissan cars. She had done the job for less than two weeks and was still being trained.

Once she had tightened the bolts on a seat she would depress the foot pedal, which would drop the seat onto the conveyor belt and move it on.

At the time of the accident she inadvertently put her foot on the foot pedal, which caused the seat to drop and her right forearm was struck by the metal edge of the seat causing her a scar.

The claimant argued breaches of the PUWER 1998 and Regulation 3 of the Management of the Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. There was joint engineering evidence from an expert who concluded the foot pedal could be inadvertently depressed. He queried whether it could be termed a “control” within the meaning of Regulation 14 of PUWER. The Judge found:

  • the foot pedal was a control under regulation 14 of PUWER and therefore it should not have been possible for it to be operated inadvertently and this was a breach of Regulation 14.
  • the foot pedal was not suitable under Regulation 4 of PUWER and that any risk assessment would have identified its unsuitability. 
  • There was a breach also of Regulation 3 of the Management Regulations in failing to carry out a risk assessment that would have prevented the accident.

No deduction for contributory negligence on the basis the claimant was a new employee, was bound to be nervous and had not been trained or advised of the risks of the foot pedals.

Gaynor Moon -v- Johnson Controls. Newcastle upon Tyne County Court, 27 April 2006