11 March 2011
Who Controls a Workplace, the Occupier or Contractor?
I often get asked by contractees who is responsible for their safety when they visit a customer's premises. I find that the example below helps to define the responsibility.
Who controls a workplace? The occupier or a contractor? An electrical contractor employed by Company X was injured when working at Company Y’s warehouse. He was struck by a truck driven by an employee of Company Y whilst he was walking down an aisle checking the ceiling lighting.The issue was, who was responsible: his own employer or the owner of the warehouse?
The Court of Appeal held that the issue is all about 'control'. Only the occupier, Company Y, could "make and enforce rules of conduct for everyone who entered the warehouse". In other words, it is the occupier who is responsible for the Health &Safety of those who enter his premises, be they permanent employees, contractors, or indeed members of the public.Control is an indisputable question of fact. The occupier should have prevented a pedestrian and a truck being in the same passageway at the same time.
It was an accident, sadly, waiting to happen. Ceva Logistics Limited v Mark Anthony Lynch and Lynch Electrical Contractors. Simon Allen is a partner in the Sheffield office of Slater and Gordon Lawyers, and also head of the Personal Injury department. Simon specialises in accidents at work claims as well as Asbestos/Mesothelioma claims
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