Ladder fall at Manor means £5K compensation for untrained worker


Simpson Millar has helped a part-time gardener secure compensation of £5,000 after he was injured doing a task for which he had no specific training.

Risk Accident

The worker's employer, Thornton Manor, asked him to help erect 2 'Chinese hat' marquees for a function.

This job completed, the gardener's next task was to set out seating in the marquees. Once the function had finished, he was expected to help remove the chairs and assist with the subsequent dismantling of the marquees.

In the course of striking one marquee the gardener had to climb a ladder and work at height. He needed to help raise the roof infrastructure, which consisted of 4 roof struts, from its upright supports.

As he lifted one of the struts and with it the roof, the weight shifted, causing him to fall from the ladder. He landed heavily, sustaining muscular damage to his lower back for which he needed treatment from a GP.

The gardener approached Simpson Millar, alleging that his employer had given him no adequate manual training for the tasks expected of him since they were not part of his usual job.

He said that while carrying out his normal daily gardening duties, his manager would often tell him to help with other jobs, such as moving garden furniture and erecting function equipment.

He also said that while he was putting up a marquee and moving carpets and furniture, he began to experience a pain in his back; a fact of which he notified his manager immediately.

On his behalf we alleged that Thornton Manor was negligent and in breach of its statutory duties, in that it failed to make a sufficient assessment of risks to which the gardener was exposed at work.

There were a number of other breaches of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, related to health and safety training oversights and failure to take appropriate steps to reduce the risk of injury to employees.

Liability for the accident was at first strongly denied by the defendant, which asserted throughout the claim that our client would never have been required to carry out such work.

The gardener's case was further shaken by his inability to contact witnesses, even though there had been others present at the time of the accident.

Furthermore, when he reported the accident to his GP, the circumstances were inaccurately recorded, which meant causation – where the same injuries could have been deemed to befall the gardener under any circumstances – became an issue.

These problems led the case to be declined by 2 barristers. However, further arguments ensued about weak defence witness evidence which had contradicted the defendant's own.

This meant we were able to obtain a settlement on the best possible terms in favour of the gardener, who was awarded £5,000 in relation to his personal injury claim.

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