Robert Golin in successful claim under the Consumer Protection Act 1987 and Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957

Published: 23/03/2015 | News

Robert Golin was successful in a claim under the Consumer Protection Act 1987 and Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957. Robert acted for the Claimant (“C”), under a CFA, in a successful claim against a national building supplies warehouse (“D”).

The circumstances of the accident were that C had visited D’s warehouse to buy several boxes of porcelain tiles. Each box of tiles was secured by four thick plastic straps. The packaging of each box warned customers of the box’s weight of 25kg, but did not warn customers to refrain from lifting by the straps.

C lifted four boxes of tiles by the straps onto her shopping trolley without incident. Upon lifting a fifth box one of the straps snapped, causing several tiles to fall onto C’s foot. As a result, C sustained a significant soft tissue injury with a suspected fracture of the metatarsals.

C’s claim was brought on the basis that:

  • D was liable under the Consumer Protection Act 1987 as the injury had been caused by a defective product. The product had been supplied with a design which permitted a particular risk to arise without giving a warning to the customer. Members of the public were entitled to expect more.
  • D had been negligent and/or breached its duty of care under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957. The straps had the appearance of being sturdy and were a natural lifting mechanism. It was reasonably foreseeable that customers might lift a box by the straps and, if it was not safe to do so, customers should have been warned;
  • D’s risk assessment had identified a hazard in the form of incorrect lifting techniques, but had failed to put any controls in place to guard against the risk of injury caused by that hazard.

Initially the claim was robustly defended, but settled in C’s favour shortly before trial.

Author: Robert Golin Farrars (