Peter Smith secures a rare finding on causation following an admitted breach of Regulation 13(1) of CDM 2015 by his client, the Principal Contractor.

A delivery driver in preparation for unloading aggregate next to a construction site raised the boom arm of his tipper lorry unnecessarily very near to overhead power lines when he was fatally electrocuted.

There were several duty holders present at the time (including the commercial client) with no demarcation point for deliveries of building materials.

On the basis of the HSE’s own Specialist Inspector’s Report, together with eye witness testimony, the boom arm could be slewed sideways without the need to raise the arm as vertical as it was, allowing the flat bed to tip. The HSE’s submitted position that the breach caused the delivery drivers death was challenged.

Whilst admitting the breach in failing to plan, manage and monitor this aspect, it was argued that the breach was not actually causative of the electrocution. Although the scene had been set, the unnecessary conduct of the delivery driver was instrumental in bringing about the occurrence, which was in line with Supreme Court authority.   

The court made the finding that causation was not made out in the particular circumstances.

Peter was instructed by Chris Green of Keoghs.

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