Injured Fairground Worker Succeeds in Personal Injury Claim


There are often few, if any, witnesses to accidents at work and accounts of how they occurred may differ dramatically. As a case concerning an injured fairground worker showed, however, judges are adept at weighing up the evidence before reaching conclusions as to the most likely sequence of events.

The worker suffered multiple injuries to his right foot when he fell 15-20 feet whilst working on a ride. His account was that he and a manager were standing on a wet handrail, attempting to free a seized bolt, when he fell. He said that a scaffolding pole had been attached to a standard spanner, with a view to improving leverage, and that he lost his footing when the bolt suddenly gave way.

After he launched a personal injury claim, however, his employer denied liability. It asserted, amongst other things, that the manager was not present when he fell and that he was neither instructed nor authorised to work at height. All reasonable steps were said to have been taken to minimise risk of injury in that only the manager was allowed to work at height and he was provided with a harness.

Following a trial, however, a judge preferred the worker’s account of what had happened. His description of events leading up to the accident had been consistent throughout and was inherently credible. On that basis, the judge had no hesitation in finding that his injuries arose from an unsafe system of work.

He had no formal health and safety training, having learned on the job, and the judge found that the manager had positively requested his assistance in performing a task that was foreseeably dangerous. If not agreed, the amount of his compensation would be assessed at a further hearing.

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