"Maximum" weights

The claimant was a porter who carried medical records in a bag for the defendant hospital. He suffered a twinge to the neck one day  that developed into a full blown injury. The defendant had designed a bag to carry records with reference to ergonomic advice and HSE guidelines and in theory the maximum weight to be carried in the bag, if fully packed, was 15 kg give or take 2-3 kg. The claimant argued the defendant thus allowed loads to be carried in excess of a “self-imposed” maximum of 15kg.

The Judge found as a matter of fact he was carrying about 16kg on the day of the accident and that it was inevitable that weights might vary or slightly exceed 15kg depending on how the bag was packed. He found that, as long as the load was beneath the HSE guideline minimum action level weight of 20kg for a man carrying a load, this was a reasonable system for one man.

Farr -v- Bradford Teaching Hospital NHS Trust, Bradford CC,19 July 2005

Workplace or occupiers' liability cases?


The claimant was a glazier called to repair the defendant’s broken window. When removing a pane of glass in a lower panel of window, a defective corner clip in the upper panel gave way causing the glass above to fall and cause a guillotine injury to the claimant’s thumb.

It was held the defective clip, and thus the state of the window, was the cause of the falling window. It was not in any way the claimant’s fault – the defect was invisible to the naked eye and the merest vibration of the window in the course of the claimant’s work was likely to cause the glass to slide down.


  • the Workplace Regulations did not apply to the elements of buildings such as a window but only the place of work and its space so that pleading failed.
  • The claim did succeed under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 s2(3) and under the similar duties in common law for a safe place of work.

There was no contributory negligence even for a failure to wear gloves because the job the claimant was doing at that time did not necessitate wearing gloves.

Younger -v- Smith and Copsey, 26 July 2005, Newcastle upon Tyne CC

Visitor in workplace

There have been several Scottish cases discussing whether the Workplace Regulations apply  to visitors in a workplace. The answer is usually no .

The injured party was stuck by a lorry in the loading bay of a shopping centre. She claimed breaches of Regs 17 of the Workplace Regulations.

Held: in the absence of express provision it is unlikely these regulations were intend to supersede or be of benefit to those not working who already had the benefit of the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 and the common law in such cases.

Donaldson -v- Hays Distribution Ltd Services and Others 2005 SC (D) 27/6