Plaintiff's claim for damages for personal injury dismissed
on basis that his employer had taken all reasonable measures in
respect of the Plaintiff's safety.
The Plaintiff was an experienced heavy goods driver who
sustained injuries when he fell from the top of a ladder which was
affixed to the back of a large articulated cement container.
At the time the accident occurred, the Plaintiff was collecting
cement from the premises of Irish Cement in Ringsend. In
accordance with standard procedure, prior to leaving the premises,
the Plaintiff was required to remove any excess cement from the top
of the container. In an effort to clean cement from the top
of the container, the Plaintiff climbed the ladder at the rear of
the container whilst holding a high-power hose. As he was
descending the ladder and still holding the power hose, he fell to
Peart J accepted the evidence put forward on behalf of the
Defendant to the effect that the Plaintiff had been made aware
that, under no circumstances was the high-power hose to be used
whilst standing on the top of a container. Peart J was of the view
that the Plaintiff had brought the incident on himself by
disobeying a very clear instruction given to him by his employer
and by Irish Cement. Peart J accepted that the other
options available to lorry drivers for cleaning their vehicles were
not available to the Plaintiff on this particular day but he stated
that this was not the direct cause of the Plaintiff's accident.
The direct cause was the Plaintiff's insistence on doing
something which he was expressly prohibited from doing and the
Plaintiff's claim was dismissed.
The decision in this case emphasises the fact that employees are
expected to take care for their own safety and that they will have
difficulty in establishing negligence against their employer if
their injuries are sustained as a direct result of their failure to
adhere to their training and to adhere to established safe work
There is no doubt that it can be very difficult to defend
employers' liability cases where an employee sustains a genuine
injury during the course of their employment. However, where an
employer has done all that is required of them in terms of health
and safety and the provision of appropriate training and
supervision, including full compliance with their statutory
obligations, then the employer should have a good prospect of
successfully defending a claim brought by an injured
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