Construction cases against occupiers and an employer

The claimant was employed by the first defendant. He was sent to a job in a building leased by the second defendant where they were having a meter installed. It was occupied by the fourth and fifth defendants. When he arrived, the meter was out of reach and he used a ladder kept in a room at the building. He still could not quite reach and fell over and was injured.

The Judge found both his employer and one of the building tenants could be held in breach of different Regulations.

It was held:
1. His employer was in breach of the Construction Regulations 1996 because it was reasonably practicable to provide their employee with a suitable ladder.
2. They had also breached Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998( PUWER 98) . The duty was on them to provide safe access to anywhere their employee went and safe work equipment for his use. Leaving him to choose or obtain work equipment for himself did not absolve them of the consequences of their breaches of regulations.

However, one of the occupiers of the building did have control of the room in which the ladder was housed and must have been aware that the ladder may have been used for access to the meter and, once it was used, it was work equipment over which they had control.

So, they had a duty under the PUWER 1998 regulations to ensure the ladder was suitable for the purpose for which it was used and the occupiers should pay 25 per cent towards the claimant’s damages.

The claimant was found one third to blame for the manner in which he had carried out the work.

Adam Mason -v- Satelcom Ltd and others. QBD, 24 July 2007.