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Personal Injury – Negligence

Andrew Swain -V- Geoffrey Osborne Ltd – PJ Brown Ltd (2010)

Liability for personal injury sustained on a building site. Responsibility of contractor and subcontractor to a visitor

In Brief:

A lorry driver slipped on mud on a footway on a building site due to a sub contractor’s lack of site safety checks. The lorry driver sustained injuries to his ankle as a result of the slip and fall.

As the driver was also obligated to take care for his own safety and he was therefore found to be 25% responsible for the accident.


  • On the evidence, the lorry driver’s injuries were sustained in the manner he stated, by slipping on a muddy surface
  • The accident arose from the failure of safety checks and systems at the building site to keep footways clear of mud
  • The primary safety check failure was due to not cleaning lorries’ wheels before leaving the site
  • The contractor discharged his responsibilities by using the sub contractor to implement the safety measures
  • The sub contractor was primarily responsible for relaxing safety checks on site and due to them having the day to day running of the site
  • The contractor has to maintain some responsibility though for not making sure the safety checks were being implemented
  • The lorry driver acknowledged to knowing that the surface was muddy, as it was a very wet morning
  • The lorry driver had to take some responsibility for the fact that he should have walked slower and more carefully on site and his compensation were accordingly reduced by 25%