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PI and Civil Litigation

Law - practice - procedure

Anthony Gold Solicitors , 19 MAY 2015

Milroy (a protected party by Mrs Sharon Maria Milroy, his litigation friend) v British Telecommunications plc [2015] EWHC 532 (QB)

Milroy (a protected party by Mrs Sharon Maria Milroy, his litigation friend) v British Telecommunications plc [2015] EWHC 532 (QB)
Employers’ Liability – Contributory Negligence

High Court, Queen's Bench Division

5 March 2015

William Davis J

Summary

The claimant was injured in the course of his employment when he came into contact with a high voltage power cable ("HVPC") while operating a mobile elevated work platform ("MEWP") to access a high-level telephone pole. The defendant was in breach of statutory duty and held vicariously liable for the actions of another employee. The claimant was held to be contributory negligent.

Details

The claimant had qualified as an MEWP operator in 2003. This involved working from a van with a boom rising from the roof with a bucket at the end, which could accommodate two people. Up until 2009, when the accident occurred, each platform was manned by two trained operators, one in the bucket and the other providing ground support. From early 2009, the system changed and platforms were manned by a single trained operator with ground support from an engineer who was not platform trained. The claimant was called to assist a colleague. While positioned in the bucket he came into contact with a power line.

In determining liability the court examined the nature of the training provided tothe claimant.His initial training in 2003 had consisted of an e-slide stating "33Kv keep metres clear" and this same advice was provided in follow-up materials. It was accepted by the defendant that this training had required clarification, and further updated training was provided to the claimant in 2008.However the claimant asserted that he had not remembered this training and the court accepted his evidence that he did not appreciate that a new system had come into place, and what this was.

The court held that had the training been adequate that the claimant would not have operated the MEWP in the position he did in relation to the HVPC because the new system would not have allowed this.The defendant was therefore held to be in breach of reg 9(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment.

Thecourt also looked at the actions of the claimant’s colleague, Mr Bradley, who was deemed to have breached his duty of care by entering the bucket with the claimant and therefore failing to ensure that there was a proper lookout.Mr Bradley also failed to consider whether analternative method could have been used to make the repair.The defendant was held vicariously liable.The claimant himself was held one third responsible for allowing Mr Bradley into the bucket, and moving thebucket causing contact with the HVPL.

Conclusion

This case demonstrated that there is an onus on an employer to ensure that trainingis absorbed and understood, as there was a failure on the part of the defendant to assess whether the claimant would have been to explain the necessary safety procedures.

Adam Dyl and Hannah Swarbrick, Anthony Gold Solicitors




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In determining liability the court examined the nature of the training provided to the claimant.His initial training in 2003 had consisted of an e-slide stating "33Kv keep metres clear" and this same advice was provided in follow-up materials. It was accepted by the defendant that this training had required clarification, and further updated training was provided to the claimant in 2008.However the claimant asserted that he had not remembered this training and the court accepted his evidence that he did not appreciate that a new system had come into place, and what this was.

The court held that had the training been adequate that the claimant would not have operated the MEWP in the position he did in relation to the HVPC because the new system would not have allowed this.The defendant was therefore held to be in breach of reg 9(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment.

Thecourt also looked at the actions of the claimant’s colleague, Mr Bradley, who was deemed to have breached his duty of care by entering the bucket with the claimant and therefore failing to ensure that there was a proper lookout.Mr Bradley also failed to consider whether analternative method could have been used to make the repair.The defendant was held vicariously liable.The claimant himself was held one third responsible for allowing Mr Bradley into the bucket, and moving thebucket causing contact with the HVPL.

Conclusion

This case demonstrated that there is an onus on an employer to ensure that trainingis absorbed and understood, as there was a failure on the part of the defendant to assess whether the claimant would have been to explain the necessary safety procedures.

Adam Dyl and Hannah Swarbrick, Anthony Gold Solicitors


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