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Employers And Vicarious Liability Notes

GDL Law Notes > GDL Tort Law Notes

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A more recent version of these Employers And Vicarious Liability notes – written by Cambridge/Bpp/College Of Law students – is available here.

The following is a more accessble plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our GDL Tort Law Notes. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:

Tort: Employers' + Vicarious Liability Employers' (Primary) Liability

- Definition: employee sues employer for breach of duty of care at work (c. must be employee, test: Ready Mixed Concrete).

Duty of Care

- Principal duty: to take reasonable care for employees' safety (Wilsons & Clyde Coal Co v English). 1 principal duty - [Ld Wright]: 'provision of competent staff of men, adequate materials + proper system/effective supervision'. 3 areas:

1. duty to provide safe premises, plant, equipment + materials.

2. duty to provide reasonably competent fellow employees.

3. duty to provide safe system of work: inc. supervision + instruction. common law duty: employer cannot rely on compliance with statutory duty as defence (Bux v Slough Metals). implied term in employment contracts (Johnstone v Bloomsbury AHA). cannot exclude (s2(1) UCTA 1977). compulsory insurance (Employers' Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 / Regulations 1998).

- Duty personal + non-delegable (McDermid v Nash Dredging) - can delegate responsibility but not liability. Mullaney v CC W Midlands Police: PC on stake-out unable to call back-up, beaten up ? CC liable: cannot delegate.

... 1. Duty to Provide Safe Premises, Plant, Materials, Equipment

- Safe premises (Smith v Baker & Sons: rock from crane - [Ld Herschell]): must take reasonable care to provide proper appliances, to maintain them in proper condition, carry out operations as to not subject those employed to unnecessary risk. arises from contract. 'premises': inc. defects in premises + hazardous activities taking place.

- Safe machinery, plant + equipment as employer ought reasonably to provide: dep. on circs. safety features/equipment/protective clothing: Qualcast v Haynes: employer provided protective footwear, not worn ? NOT liable. Davie v New Merton Board Mills Ltd: defective hammer, but reputable supplier ? NOT liable. now reversed: Employers' Liability (Defective Equipment) Act 1969. Bux v Slough Metals Ltd: protective goggle provided, not worn ? LIABLE: duty to insist equipment used (modifying Qualcast). Yorkshire Traction Co v Walter Searby: bus drivers not provided with screens, but had objected b/c of glare + risk low ? NOT liable. consider employees' characteristics (Paris v Stepney BC: 1-eyed ? extra precautions needed). but exceptional circs. may be excluded (Mulcahy v MOD: duty does not extend to soldiers in battle). N.B. employees also have duty to use sensibly (O'Reilly v National Rail Appliances: hit bomb with hammer ? employer NOT liable). equipment: s1(3) Employers' Liability (Def. Equip.) Act 1969: 'any plant + machinery, vehicle, aircraft, clothing' - broad. Coltman v Bibby Tankers: ship = equipment. Knowles v Liverpool CC: flagstone = equipment.

- Precautions need only be reasonable, not absolute (Latimer v AEC).

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