05 September, 2017
Peet v Wigan Council
Wigan County Court - DJ Mornington
The Claimant was involved in a serious accident when working as a refuse collector for the Defendant. The Claimant alleged that as he attempted to climb on to a stationary vehicle, he lost his footing and fell backwards onto the ground. The refuse vehicle then started to move backwards and reversed over his right leg causing a crushing injury.
The Defendant disputed the Claimant's version of events. The driver maintained that at the time of the accident the vehicle was slowly moving forwards. He had put the left lock on when suddenly and without warning the nearside door opened but before he could react he heard someone cry out. The accident happened quickly and unexpectedly and the driver had no time to react. Another operative outside the vehicle had witnessed the incident unfolding.
At trial the Judge found that the accident was caused by the Claimant running and attempting to get on to a moving vehicle. There was no responsibility on the part of the driver. The Claimant had acted dangerously and in direct contravention of the Defendant's health and safety handbook. The Claimant had been trained and provided with a copy of the handbook.
Unfortunately accidents involving refuse vehicles are an all too frequent occurrence. To be in a position to defend similar claims Defendants must be able to demonstrate that work equipment was in full working order, provide appropriate health and safety policies and detailed risk assessments as well as evidence to confirm that staff have been adequately trained and instructed.
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