Ian Hardy -v- Durham County Council

The claimant was employed as a CDT Technician at a school. He had a deep cut to the tip of his thumb when he caught it on the blade of the circular saw that he was using.

He said the accident occurred due to wear and tear on the insert in which the blade sits which allowed an off-cut of wood to fall down the side of the blade into an extraction chamber and then be thrown back in his direction, causing him to jump back and catch his thumb on the blade.

The defendant argued that the wear and tear did not breach PUWER and did not cause the accident. The Judge found that the wear and tear of the machine amounted to a breach of Regulation 5(1) of the PUWER. He found in favour of the claimant with no deductions for contrib.

14 February 2007, Newcastle upon Tyne County Court

William Riley Smith -v- University of York

The claimant was employed by York University. He was walking over a wooden bridge. Sections of the bridge had been treated with non-slip coating but 150mm from each edge had not been treated, creating a slipping hazard contrary to Section 12(3) of the Workplace Regs.

As he was walking over the bridge he stepped on an untreated section, slipped and badly twisted his knee. Liability was denied.

At trial, the claimant could not be 100 per cent certain where he placed his foot, only that he was walking to the right of the bridge very close to the edge. He accepted that, as he wasn’t looking at his feet at the time, he may have walked on a treated section but this was unlikely.

The Judge accepted that, on the balance of probability, it was likely that the claimant would have slipped on an untreated section of the bridge and therefore found in favour of the client.

2 February 2007, York County Court