Bradford County Court
HELD: (1) The difference between S's account in the witness statement and pleading and his account in the witness box was not a matter of minor variation or mere translation. The suggestion that S had acted out of fear of being hit and in a panic was so fundamental to his explanation that it was inconceivable that the first time he would recall or mention it was at trial some two-and-a-half years after the accident. On the balance of probabilities the accident had occurred before the forklift truck had attempted to place the racking in the workshop. It had not occurred as a result of any fear or urgency or necessity on the part of S to move the bench. (2) P had failed to comply with its statutory obligation in reg.4(1)(a). The benches were heavy and awkward to move. P should have considered whether it was reasonably practicable to use either a pallet truck or skates in the first instance rather than man power. Having failed to consider the matter P was unable to adduce any evidence that it was not reasonably practicable to use a pallet truck or skates and thereby avoid the need for a manual handling operation. There was also a breach of reg.4(1)(b) in that no suitable risk assessment was undertaken or steps taken to reduce the risk of injury. However any breach was not causative of the accident. S knew that the benches were heavy and that he could not move them on his own. There was no reasonable explanation as to why S tried to do just that. The accident was caused by S's decision to try to move the bench on his own. He was therefore solely responsible for the injury he had suffered.
Judgment for defendant
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