Millar v Galashiels Gas Co Ltd; Galashiels Gas Company Ltd v O’Donnell: HL 20 Jan 1949

A hoist mechanism failed, the employee was injured, and he sought damages from his employer under the Act.
Held: The section imposes an absolute obligation to maintain work equipment in an efficient state or in efficient working order. The duty imposed was an absolute and continuing obligation, so that proof of any failure in the mechanism of a hoist or lift established a breach of statutory duty, even though it was impossible to anticipate such failure before the event or to explain it afterwards, and even though all reasonable steps had been taken to provide a suitable hoist or lift and to maintain it properly.
References: [1949] AC 275, [1949] SC (HL) 31, [1949] UKHL 2, 47 LGR 213, 1949 SLT 223, 65 TLR 76, [1949] LJR 540, [1949] AC 275, [1949] 1 All ER 319
Links: Bailii
Judges: Lord Morton of Henryton
Statutes: Factories Act 1937 22(1)
Jurisdiction: Scotland
This case is cited by:

  • Cited – Hislop v Lynx Express Parcels IHCS 3-Apr-2003 (Times 17-Apr-03, , [2003] ScotCS 98)
    The claimant was injured when, after stopping the vehicle he was driving for his employers, he was scalded when the radiator cap flew off. He appealed against the dismissal of his claim on the basis that he had been unable to show any fault.
  • Cited – Lewis v Avidan Ltd (T/A High Meadow Nursing Home) CA 13-Apr-2005 (, [2005] EWCA Civ 670)
    A nurse claimed damages after slipping on a patch of water in the nursing home where she worked. The defendant argued that the pipe which had broken was not equipment so as to make it liable.
    Held: The nurse’s appeal failed. The mere fact of . .
  • Cited – Smith v Northamptonshire County Council HL 20-May-2009 (, [2009] UKHL 27, Times 21-May-09, [2009] 4 All ER 557, [2009] 1 WLR 2353, [2009] All ER (D) 170)
    The claimant, a health care worker was visiting the home of a client when she fell from a defective wheelchair ramp and suffered injury. She sought damages from her employer.
    Held: Her appeal failed (Lord Hope and Lady Hale dissenting). The . .
  • Cited – Munro v Aberdeen City Council SCS 17-Sep-2009 (, [2009] ScotCS CSOH – 129)
    The pursuer was injured slipping on ice in her defender employer’s car park. Liability depended on the interpretation of regulation 5, the claimant saying that it imposed an absolute requirement to maintain the workplace in efficient working order . .
  • Applied – Stark v Post Office CA 2-Mar-2000 (Times 29-Mar-00, Gazette 06-Apr-00, , [2000] EWCA Civ 64, [2000] PIQR 105, [2000] ICR 1013)
    A component in a postman’s bicycle gave way even though the machine had been sensibly maintained and checked. He sought damages for his injuries.
    Held: The duty imposed by the regulations was absolute, and an employee postal worker who was . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Last Update: 22 September 2020; Ref: scu.181179