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case law re well shaft protection

Posted: Sat Jun 28, 2014 5:08 pm
by nextenso
Hi, hope someone can help. Its been many years since my construction related law studies as part of my HND Struct E at Guildford Tech. Now I need to refer to a piece of case law I recall being taught, but, do not remember the name of. I have tried numerous Google searches and on-line case law directories.

The case concerned, as I remember, a person who trespassed onto another's land. This land had a deep well shaft. The land owner had put a simple barrier around this wellhead and a written warning sign saying something such as 'Beware deep well'

The trespasser stumbled through the weak barrier and fell into the well. The land owner held that the sign gave adequate warning to keep away.

The ruling was against the land owner in that the barrier was insufficient to be effective and the land owner could not reply on a sign protect people from falling, even if a trespasser; the barrier in itself must be sufficient to stop a fall in reasonable circumstances no matter how people gain access.

At the time our law lecturer said the case was one the basic tenets of case law.

This case, as I understand, has become relative to many situations where if a person/company creates a risk that they know of or should be reasonably anticipated, it is insufficient to simply issue a simple warning.

For example if an employer becomes aware of an increased risk in a process or task, simply placing a warning on a noticeboard about the risk is no longer sufficient to negate liability, the employer must now establish an interactive process which ensures the employer can evidence that each employee concerned has acknowledged awareness of the new risk (and has undertaken re-training should the nature of the risk require it).

Clearly the case I am thinking of it is not Rylands v Fletcher which is about escape/trespass of water in a mine shaft.

Please can anyone help. After 30 years, my recall of the case I want is hazy at the least.

Rgds Jonathan