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Judgment handed down in Kalos v Goodyear & Dunlop Tyres (Aust) P/L
29 November 2016
The Supreme Court has awarded damages totalling $688,000 to an employee who tripped on a protruding metal plate in her work place.
The plaintiff alleged, against both the employer and the owner of premises, that there was a breach of duty on their part in failing to remove the metal plate. The metal plate had been left in place after the employer had conducted refurbishment of the workplace.
The Court found that the employer’s occupational health and safety representative was aware that the metal plate was loose, and the employer was negligent in failing to take steps, prior to the plaintiff’s fall, to make the plate safe.
Further, the Court found that the employer, acting reasonably, should have implemented a system of regular inspection to ensure the floor was safe. The metal plate was redundant, the Court said, and the cost of removing the plate compared to the risk it posed to the employees was low.
The Court held that the owner of the premises had not breached its duty to the plaintiff, because, among other things, the employer had exclusive possession of the premises and moreover, the owner was not aware that the employer had no system in place for inspection and maintenance of the floor premises.
As there was no breach on the part of the owner of the premises, there were no contribution issues to be determined by the Court. The Court also rejected the employer’s contributory negligence claim.
The Court awarded general damages of $250,000, past loss of earnings of $230,000 as well as future loss of earning capacity of $250,000.