Evans v Windsor & Maidenhead Royal BC (1); Charles Wilson Engineers (2)

[2011] EWHC 2096 (QB)

HGV driver killed when collecting industrial plant from site

Judgment was entered against both defendants, with the key issue in the case being the apportionment of liability between the site owners (D1) and the deceased’s employer (D2).

The deceased was an experienced driver of 13 years employed to deliver and collect industrial plant from sites. On collecting plant from D1’s site, he partially extended the platform and struck an overhead pipe.

High Court C held

Both D1 and D2 were equally liable. With improved signage and adequate warnings, the deceased would not have elevated the platform.

D2 had failed to appreciate the need to keep the deceased up to date with safety practices, relying too extensively on his experience even though his training certificates were still in date. His last training was five years before the accident and was on smaller machinery than the one on which he had the accident. D2’s sales manager had failed to note on the delivery documents the risk of restricted headroom. The focus of the delivery documents was on the safety at D2’s own premises, not on site delivery and collection.

D1 was also liable for failing to display adequate warning signs of restricted headroom on the exit as well as the entrance to the site. It cannot be assumed that vehicles will be the same height exiting as entering the site.