Case 6 Liability - Death and Bodily Injury

Case 6 Liability - Death and Bodily Injury

A terminal member was discharging bundles of steel tubes at night. The bundles were stowed on the main vehicle deck of a ro/ro vessel and were being moved by fork-lift trucks from the deck to the quay across the ship's stern ramp. The gang was working under temporary lighting rigged along the deck, but some areas were poorly illuminated. A fork-lift truck driver lifted a bundle from the stack, and then reversed through 180o in order to drive off the ship. In doing so, the truck bumped into the stack of tubes and dislodged other bundles, which fell on the truck, crushing the protective cage and killing the driver. The terminal and the shipowner were prosecuted by the Health & Safety Inspectorate for not ensuring a safe method of working. The court apportioned blame 33:66 between the ship owner and that terminal operator. Following this decision, the driver's widow commenced an action for damages which was settled by both companies in the same proportion. The Club provided legal assistance in defending the criminal action and later reimbursed its member for his share of the damages paid to the widow.