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#1 Posted : 13 June 2022 13:22:50(UTC)
Rank: New forum user

Following an ongoing debate, I wonder if anyone would be able to advise of whether who is liable in the following 'scenario' please;

A self employed individual is contracted by a business to carry out works including the transporting and setting up of equipment. The self employed individual reports that a piece of the equipment they have been instructed to set up is very heavy and difficult to move, due to its poor design. 

The self-employed individual attends the same job a few weeks later and injures themselves as a result of the previously reported issue. The equipment is no longer in use.

I appreciate your thoughts and opinions...

Brian Hagyard  
#2 Posted : 13 June 2022 13:44:56(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Brian Hagyard

Sorry but i dont think you are supplying enough information to get a meaningful answer - and i would not put anymore details on an open forum. 

By liable are you thinking criminal or civil liability?

thanks 1 user thanked Brian Hagyard for this useful post.
lstorer on 13/06/2022(UTC)
#3 Posted : 13 June 2022 15:22:32(UTC)
Rank: New forum user

Thanks Brian. I appreciate your response.

In regards to whether it is civil or criminal, then I would say both. 

Please be assured that this is not something that is in court etc but a historic event that is being debated.

peter gotch  
#4 Posted : 13 June 2022 15:51:41(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
peter gotch


Historic doesn't necessarily indicate that litigation might not be in the offing.

Forum Rule 9 and guidance states:

9. Discussion of potential or actual legal proceedings is prohibited on the public discussion forums. 9.1. Public inquiries, including where IOSH is a party to the inquiry, may be discussed on the Members’ Forum. 9.2. Information that has been intentionally released, for example to alert others to a particular hazard or fact, can also be discussed in the IOSH Members’ Forum.

So, it would make sense to pose the Q on the Members' Forums where the Q would be behind a reasonably closed door and you could provide a bit more information.

However, in principle, given the very limited information in the scenario, I would expect a proper investigation (one that looks for the underlying causes) to usually conclude that those in control of the situation hold more responsibility (and thence either criminal or civil liability) than the self-employed victim who has very little choice other than to work in dangerous conditions or walk away from the job and not get paid.

Limitations on the search capability of the HSE's prosecutions database including, inter alia, the general lack of information in the free text bos mean that it would be very difficult to get comparative data for those self-employed prosecuted for putting themselves or others at risk compared to proscutions of others for putting the self-employed at risk, but I would guess that the actual number of the latter is far higher than enforcement against the self-employed who tend (in the main - excepting e.g. baby jobs for householders and similar) to be at the bottom of the line of control.


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