Robb v Salamis (M and I) Ltd: HL 13 Dec 2006

The claimant was injured working for the defendants on a semi-submersible platform. He fell from a ladder which was not secured properly. He alleged a breach of the Regulations. The defendant denied any breach and asserted that the claimant had contributed to the accident by his negligence.
Held: The employee’s appeal succeeded. The aim in both regulations is the same. It is to ensure that work equipment which is made available to workers may be used by them without impairment to their safety or health: see article 3(1) of the Work Equipment Directive. This is an absolute and continuing duty, which extends to every aspect related to their work. The employer had a duty to anticipate accidents. The accident was caused by the defender’s failure to comply with the regulations, but the pursuer contributed to the extent of 50%.
Lord Hope of Craighead, Lord Clyde, Lord Scott of Foscote, Lord Rudger of Earlsferry and Lord Carswell
[2006] UKHL 56, Times 22-Dec-2006, 2007 SC (HL) 71, [2007] 2 All ER 97, [2007] ICR 175
Bailii
Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (SI 1998/2306) 4 20, Framework Directive 89/391/EEC, Work Equipment Directive 89/655/EEC
England and Wales
Citing:
Appeal fromRobb v Salamis (M and I) Limited OHCS 16-Mar-2005
. .
See AlsoSalamis (Marine and Industrial) Limited v Douglas Forbes OHCS 14-Jul-2005
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CitedHindle v Birtwistle 1897
The employer considering the use of dangerous machinery must allow for ‘the contingency of carelessness on the part of the workman in charge of it and the frequency with which that contingency is likely to arise’ . .
CitedHorton v Taplin Contracts Limited CA 8-Nov-2002
The employee claimed damages after injury at work using scaffolding equipment supplied by his employers which was upset by the violent act of a fellow employee.
Held: The equipment when used properly was safe. It only became dangerous if . .
CitedLitster and Others v Forth Dry Dock and Engineering Co Ltd HL 16-Mar-1989
The twelve applicants had been unfairly dismissed by the transferor immediately before the transfer, and for a reason connected with the transfer under section 8(1). The question was whether the liability for unfair dismissal compensation . .
CitedPickstone v Freemans Plc HL 30-Jun-1988
The claimant sought equal pay with other, male, warehouse operatives who were doing work of equal value but for more money. The Court of Appeal had held that since other men were also employed on the same terms both as to pay and work, her claim . .
CitedJohn Summers and Sons Ltd v Frost HL 1955
Construction of Workmen Safety Statutes
The normal rule that penal statutes must be strictly construed has not been allowed to stand in the way of the protection given to the workman by the statutory language. The House considered the requirement under section 14(1) of the 1937 Act that . .
CitedMitchell v North British Rubber Co Ltd 1945
The court considered the meaning of the term ‘dangerous’ in the Act. Lord Justice Clerk Cooper: ‘The question is not whether the occupiers of the factory knew that it was dangerous; nor whether a factory inspector had so reported; nor whether . .
CitedMcfarlane v Ferguson Shipbuilders Limited OHCS 16-Mar-2004
. .
CitedGriffiths v Vauxhall Motors Ltd CA 12-Mar-2003
The court considered the effect of the regulations: ‘Regulation 4 and indeed 5 are concerned with the physical condition of the equipment on the assumption that they will be properly operated by properly trained and instructed personnel.’ A risk . .
CitedHughes v Lord Advocate HL 21-Feb-1963
The defendants had left a manhole uncovered and protected only by a tent and paraffin lamp. A child climbed down the hole. When he came out he kicked over one of the lamps. It fell into the hole and caused an explosion. The child was burned. The . .
CitedOwners of the ‘Boy Andrew’ v Owners of the ‘St Rognvald’ HL 1947
The House should not alter the apportionment of responsibility for an accident assessed by the judge save in exceptional circumstances. . .
CitedClose v Steel Company of Wales Ltd 1962
The pursuer sought damages after injury arising from the use of a tool for a purpose other than that for which it was intended to be used. Lord Denning quoted Sir Frederick Pollock to say: ‘Judicial authority belongs not to the exact words used in . .
CitedMiller v South of Scotland Electricity Board HL 1958
An employer should recognise that it is not possible to predict all the ways in which dangers may arise, especially where the risk is created by carelessness. The employer is liable even if he did not foresee the precise accident that happened. In . .
CitedJohn Summers and Sons Ltd v Frost HL 1955
Construction of Workmen Safety Statutes
The normal rule that penal statutes must be strictly construed has not been allowed to stand in the way of the protection given to the workman by the statutory language. The House considered the requirement under section 14(1) of the 1937 Act that . .
CitedLyon v Don Brothers, Buist and Co 1944
Lord Justice General Normand said that the circumstances which can reasonably be expected by an employer in the context of health and safety ‘include a great deal more than the staid, prudent, well-regulated conduct of men diligently attentive to . .
CitedSmith (formerly Westwood) v National Coal Board HL 1967
Lord Reid said that an employer ‘must always have in mind, not only the careful man, but also the man who is inattentive to such a degree as can normally be expected.’ . .

Cited by:
CitedSpencer-Franks v Kellogg Brown and Root Ltd and others HL 2-Jul-2008
The deceased worked for the defendants on an oil rig. He was injured by a door closer he was attempting to repair. The defendants denied that the mechanism was equipment within the Regulations.
Held: The appeal was allowed. The door closer was . .
CitedBaker v Quantum Clothing Group Ltd and Others SC 13-Apr-2011
The court was asked as to the liability of employers in the knitting industry for hearing losses suffered by employees before the 1989 Regulations came into effect. The claimant had worked in a factory between 1971 and 2001, sustaining noise induced . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 01 February 2021; Ref: scu.247398