Colchester County Court
On the evidence, an employer was not liable for personal injuries sustained by an employee who had fallen some height from a ladder in the course of his work as an electrician; the employee was entirely at fault in climbing the ladder while no one was present to foot it or secure it in position.
The claimant (S) claimed damages against his former employers (D) for personal injuries sustained during the course of his employment. S had been employed by D as an electrician and had been sent to inspect and repair some overhead heaters in a church. As they were a considerable height above floor level and S did not have a ladder long enough to reach them, he borrowed a ladder from the church and a church steward (W) offered to foot it. S was concerned about marking the floor and placed a cushion under the base of the ladder. W's evidence was that S initially ascended and descended the ladder whilst W was footing it. S then asked W to turn off the electricity and W went outside to do so. On his return W heard a crash and found S on the floor with the ladder on the floor beside him. S had sustained injuries to his knee and face. S submitted that D was negligent and had committed various breaches of the Construction (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1996 and Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 including a failure to provide suitable equipment, carry out a preliminary risk assessment, give adequate training and ensure that someone would assist in footing the ladder or securing it in position while it was in use.
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