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Employer’s Liability Case Update. Martyn Gabbitass ACII ACILA QuestGates Ltd. Work Equipment The ‘new’ starting point?. Spencer-Franks v. Kellogg Brown & Root Ltd & Others (HL2008). Spencer-Franks. The Facts: Claimant, technician employed by 1 st Defendant

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Employer s liability case update

Employer’s LiabilityCase Update

Martyn Gabbitass ACII ACILA

QuestGates Ltd

Work equipment the new starting point

Work EquipmentThe ‘new’ starting point?

Spencer-Franks v. Kellogg Brown & Root Ltd & Others (HL2008)

Spencer franks


The Facts:

Claimant, technician employed by 1st Defendant

1st Defendant supplied workers to 2nd Defendant who operated

oil rig.

Claimant repairing door closer.

Closer mechanism defective & Claimant struck in face.

House of lords decision

House of Lords’ Decision

Overturned Hammond v. Commissioner of Police of the

Metropolis & Others (CA2004)

No distinction can be drawn from person using equipment.

Door closer work equipment to those in control room (2nd


Held closer to be work equipment whilst Claimant repairing it

even though not using it as intended.

Any relief

Any Relief?

‘Goal posts’ extended.

Spencer-Franks confirms equipment being repaired

covered by PUWER even if not being used for intended

purpose. However, did not clarify whether employer

should be liable for equipment supplied by third party.

(Agreement reached between Defendants not to ‘test’ this


Any relief cont

Any Relief? (cont…)

Control remains ‘live’ issue.

Smith v. Northamptonshire C.C. (CA2008)Held:

County Council not liable for injury where employee using

ramp at private residence.

Specific comment made: installations within premises only

work equipment if employer had right or control over


Any relief cont couzens v mcgee co ltd ca2009

Any Relief? (cont…)Couzens v. McGee & Co. Ltd (CA2009)


Claimant – HGV driver driving too fast.

Claimant alleged makeshift tool had caught in his trouser leg

and employer failed to provide suitable place to keep tool.

Claimant lost and appealed.

Appeal dismissed. Held: PUWER did not apply to tool because

employer had not permitted its use.

Positive news hull v sanderson ca2008

Positive NewsHull v. Sanderson (CA2008)


Turkey plucker suffering campylobacter enteritis.

Pleaded Fairchild – materially increased risk.

Overturned by Court of Appeal – “but for” test reinforced.

Positive news cont duncan v aerabuild ltd qbd2008

Positive News (cont…)Duncan v. Aerabuild Ltd (QBD2008)


Apprentice on building site.

Fixing timber strips to roof rafters.

Supervisor called away.

Claimant pulled himself up into roof space, swung back down

& struck head.

Held – simple task; actions not foreseeable; equipment

provided; provision of training/information would not have

prevented Claimant’s accident.

Positive news cont paterson v surrey police authority 2008

Positive News (cont…)Paterson v. Surrey Police Authority (2008)


Employed since 1979. Estate Manager since 1985.

Nervous breakdown 2004. Alleged long hours.

Held: Injury not reasonably foreseeable. Hatton

principles reinforced.