A building site main contractor was held liable for not ensuring that a sub-contractor had kept a walkway clear of mud, which caused a site worker to slip and fall, and suffer an ankle injury.
The site worker, a lorry driver, was also held partly responsible for not being careful enough to walk more slowly around his cab door after he admitted that he was aware of an “apparently muddy surface.”
The court heard that the main contractor had failed to check that a sub-contractor had put into place a system for keeping walkways clear of mud and for cleaning the mud from the wheels of the lorries before they left the site.
The case before the court was to decide whether the first defendant contractor and the second defendant sub-contractor were liable for the injury caused to the claimant lorry driver and the proportion of damages to be awarded.
The judge found that the main contractor had carried out his responsibility by using the sub- contractor to put safety measures into place. While the sub-contractor was found to have neglected his day to day duty in carrying out the required safety checks, the main contractor was still held responsible in his supervisory role for not maintaining control over the sub-contractor to ensure safety checks were being carried out.
The judge also considered the lorry driver’s admission that he knew the surface was muddy (because it had rained heavily) but had not slowed his actions.
The court found the driver was liable for contributory negligence and reduced the compensation awarded by 25%. The court also found that the main contractor was responsible for causing the driver’s injury although the sub-contractor was held to have the greater liability for the remaining portion of the compensation.