Company Director Held Liable For Injured Claimant’s Fall

The High Court has recently ordered a Company Director, and the Company itself, to pay compensation to a Claimant for personal injuries sustained in an accident which occurred when he fell at height through the roof space in which he was working.

 The Claimant was employed as a carpenter’s assistant and he was tasked with building a walkway in the roof space above the third floor of a building in which they were working.  As he was doing so he fell off the walkway and through the suspended roof  below, suffering serious personal injury in the process. 

 The injured workman brought legal action against the principal Director of the company which leased the third floor of the building and which had requested the work to be carried out.  He also sued the company itself as Second Defendant.  Allegations were brought under the common law (negligence), Construction (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1996, and the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

 The Court held that even though the Claimant was not employed by the Company which leased the building, that Company had ordered the work to be carried out and had overall control over the project via its principal Shareholder and Director, the First Defendant.  Although neither Defendants were aware that the walkway would be constructed on that particular day, they knew that it would have to be completed at some stage, and they were therefore liable for failing to ensure that the Claimant was under the supervision of someone with suitable training, knowledge and experience to protect his safety. 

 Both Defendants were liable for causative breaches of the 2005 Regulations by failing to ensure that the work at height in the roof void was properly planned, appropriately supervised and carried out in a manner that was as far as practicable reasonably safe and by failing to ensure only competent persons were involved in the organisation, planning, supervision and performance of work at height on site.

 This accident at work claim highlights the fact that cases involving personal injuries sustained during a construction project can cause severe difficulties in establishing liability against the correct party.  Whilst an employer does have extensive obligations to protect its workforce, in this case the employer was not liable (despite being on site with the Claimant to supervise his work) as the Company, as project manager, was responsible for overall safety of all persons present.  It also serves as a warning to Company Directors that they may not be able to hide behind the corporate veil of their company’s separate legal identity in escaping personal injury liability for people injured as a result of their instruction.

 If you have been involved in an accident at work call Personal Injury Solicitor David Mayor now for free legal advice on  0800 975 2463.

David Mayor

About David Mayor

David is Head of the Preston Office's Civil Litigation team and deals with all types of private Civil Court disputes. David’s blogs cover his expertise in all aspects of personal injury law from low value Road Traffic Accidents right through to complex large loss claims. David also writes and has a vast array of experience in Public Liability (trips and slips), Employer's Liability (accidents at work), and Motor Claims (motor vehicle accidents, pedestrian accidents).
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