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Cambridge City Council v Kwik Fit (GB) Ltd

John Cooper successfully represented Kwik Fit in their appeal heard at Cambridge Crown Court earlier this month.

The court allowed an appeal against the conviction of Kwik Fit in relation to 4 Health and Safety offences. It had been contended that the company had provided insufficient safety training to a new recruit and that this alleged failing had caused a serious accident to a member of the public and to another employee.

The company appealed on the basis that independent assessment of their training and safety standards (by Ofsted) showed them to be rated as outstanding and that the origin of the accident was culpable failure on behalf of the new recruit. The Company provide similar training to new recruits in all of their 650 centres and an adverse finding in this case would have required extensive operational changes to be made to the training programme. The court heard extensive expert evidence as to the extent to which operational changes could be made in the tyre fitting industry to introduce measures to prevent customer access to bay areas and to provide changes to the training programme.

The court decided that the company could not be held responsible for the, “direct disobedience” of the new recruit and decided that any exposure to risk had been accounted for by his negligence and not any act or omission on behalf of the company. The court decided that in the light of this finding the issue of reasonable practicability did not arise.

The court relied upon R (Hampstead Heath Winter Swimming Club and another) v Corporation of London and Another [2005] 1 WLR 2930, R v HTM [2007] 2 ALL ER 665, R v Porter [2008] EWCA Crim 1271.

The Company were awarded costs from central funds.

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