The claimant worked for the MOD. His colleagues were having problems closing a door in the ammunition store. It was solid steel and 3.5 inches thick. It was often difficult to shut. He tried to kick it shut. He also tried to barge it with his shoulder and said he injured his knee when doing this.
The Judge agreed with the defendant’s evidence that he had injured himself when kicking the door. They said he had been “gung-ho”. However, the defendant conceded the door was difficult to shut and there had been calls to maintenance in the past to help with this type of door. The defendant admitted the door was work equipment under PUWER 1998 (we had pleaded it also fell under the Workplace Regulations).
The Judge found Regulation 5 applied to either set of regulations in this case. The Judge found the door was not efficient in terms of health and safety. The question was whether it was foreseeable that this defective door would cause injury to someone trying to kick it shut.
The defendant said it was a “frolic of his own” and broke the chain of causation between the defect in the door and his injury. The Judge found it was reasonably foreseeable someone would attempt to kick a door such as this shut and judgment for the claimant. However, a very high (70 per cent) contributory negligence against the claimant for his actions.
Leeds CC , 1st October 2007
Trip on a very small defect
The claimant tripped on a walkway in a school. The accident report said the height difference in the walkway was 2cm. The witnesses for the defendants said it was 3-5mm. The defendant relied on Palmer -v- Marks and Spencer (AC) (a 9mm ridge created by a weatherstrip did not render a step unsuitable for use) and said that such a height difference was so minimal that the path was suitable for use.
The Judge found that, while photographs did not show a particular differential in height at the accident site, they did show there was a problem with maintenance all round the path and it was not suitable for use. He also accepted the height differential of 2cm in the accident report and found there was a clear defect.
Leave for appeal was denied on the basis that they Judge had come to factual conclusion when applying Palmer -v- Marks and Spencer.
Bow County Court, 5 October 2007..