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Duncan v Acrabuild Ltd

QBD (Ronald Walker QC sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge) 29/7/08

The Claimant was an independent contractor who was engaged by the Defendants to carry out carpentry work on the construction site of a single storey dwelling. He was instructed to fix wooden noggins between the rafters forming part of the roof trusses. The Claimant performed this work from a platform consisting of “H” frame trestles and scaffold boards. For some reason, unconnected with the work of “noggin out”, the Claimant climbed from the trestle platform into the roof space by pulling himself up manually on the rafters. On descending from the roof space using the same method, the Claimant hit his head causing him to fall and suffer injury.

The claim against the Defendants was dismissed.

The learned Judge held that the Defendants could not reasonably have foreseen that the Claimant would climb up into the roof space and had not been negligent. It was further held that the roof space was not a place of work for the Claimant therefore Regulation 5 of the Construction (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1996 did not apply. Similarly, it was held that there was no breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

The Claimant issued a notice of appeal against this decision. The appeal was expected to be heard on 12 May 2009 but the Claimant withdrew his appeal without receiving any payment from the Defendants by way of damages or costs. The Defendants would have been represented on the appeal by Mr Nicholas Davies who appeared at the trial and by Mr Richard Lynagh QC.

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