Case study 1 - Injured from Ladder fall
Mr Harsukhray Bhatt worked in a car show room for his employers, Fontain Motors Limited as an after sales assistant. Ordinarily you might not have expected an employee such as Mr Bhatt to work at height. However his employers had stored Audi spoilers in the loft area above the showroom. They had a very complicated system for fetching the spoilers, which included moving the vehicles, using a stepladder, and then using a long aluminium ladder with someone footing it. Mr Batt was injured when he fell from the ladder. Although he was found partially to blame, the Court of Appeal found that his employer was mainly responsible for the accident in having such a complicated system, and that the simple solution was not to have the spoilers stored at height.
At NewLaw, our solicitors have a vast amount of experience of helping with claims that have affected many workers who have been injured at work through falls and working at height.
Case study 2 - Window Cleaner fall
One of the most important legal cases concerning work at height is that of Ernest Christmas, who successfully sued his employers General Cleaning Contractors Ltd. Although it is a case from the 1950s, it is just as important today, as it establishes that it is for the employer to devise a reasonably safe system of work. Mr Christmas, like his colleagues, had been stepping outside onto windowsills to clean windows. Unfortunately he lost his balance and fell when the sash closed suddenly and without warning.
Clearly it was an extremely dangerous way to clean windows. The HSE produces excellent guidance on Safety in Window Cleaning using portable ladders, which recommends alternatives to ladders if possible, for instance long poles systems or mobile elevating work platforms.
There is a stark warning:
'Window cleaners should not have to risk their lives just because someone does not want to pay for safe access, or cannot arrange a time for access.'
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