Burgess v Plymouth City Council: CA 30 Dec 2005

The claimant fell over plastic lunch boxes at the school at which she worked as a cleaner. The judge had held that the school was in breach of the regulations, and was liable but the claimant was 50% contributorially negligent. The defendant argued that as a cleaner it was her task to tidy the floors.
Held: The duty to tidy the floors was not determinative of the case. ‘if the system had been operated correctly the accident would not have happened . . It was inevitable that there would be a substantial finding of contributory negligence. Mrs Burgess had entered the room through a door leading precisely to the point where the obstruction was placed. It was a large and conspicuous obstruction. It was reasonable to expect that to make her job easier and for her own safety she would move the lunch box container to its normal safe position. However, she was not keeping a proper lookout and she failed to see an obvious hazard. ‘


The Master of the Rolls, Sir Anthony Clarke, Lady Justice Smith Lord Justice Maurice Kay


[2005] EWCA Civ 1659




Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulation 1992 1293)


England and Wales


CitedAnderson v Newham College of Further Education CA 25-Mar-2002
Sedley LJ said that: ‘people do not always look where they are going.’ Where the claimant was wholly to blame for the accident and there could be no liability on the defendant colege. . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Personal Injury

Updated: 05 July 2022; Ref: scu.238626