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  1. Bradley v CIE [1976]: Henchy J - "The law does not require an employer to ensure in all circumstances the safety of his workmen. He will have discharged his duty if he has done what a reasonable and prudent employer would have done in the circumstances.
    The plaintiff must show that the injury was foreseeable and as a result of the defendant failing to take reasonable care
  2. Brady v Beckmann Instuments (Galway) Inc [1986]: The plaintiff contracted a form of dermatitis from inhaling chemical fumes at his workplace. Evidence showed that the standard at the plant was superior to other similar plants and the liklihood of injury was 'so unique and improbable as not to have been reasonably foreseeable by his employers' so no liability was imposed
    • Duties of the employer to the employee:
    • - to provide competent staff
    • - to provide a safe place to work
    • - to provide a safe system of work
    • - to provide proper equipment
  3. Competant Staff
    • Due care to select proper and competent staff. An employer is also under a duty to ensure that employees have been adequately trained / instructed in the oeration of any tools / equioment in carrying out their jobs
    • Hudson v Ridge Manufacturing [1957]
    It will be no defence to an employer to state that the employee knew of the dangers inherent in the workplace - in cases where an unsafe place of work exists
    • - 'to make accidents impossible would often make work impossible'
    • - home help was employed in the delapidated home of an elderly lady. The plaintiff hurt her ankle on a scheduled visit. She argued that the defendants were negligent in not having surveyed the house. The onus was not on the Health Board to carry out an examination of every premises thier home help worked in. Central to the courts decision was the high social utility of visiting the elderly in their homes coupled with the low probability of such an accident occurring
    A duty to take reasonable care that proper appliances are provided and maintained in a proper condition so as not to subject those employed to unneccessary risk. Also protective equipment or clothing should be provided where necessary to carry out duties safely. 
    If reasonable steps are taken by the employer to address risks to safety, no liability will be found.
    • If reasonable steps are taken by the employer to address risks to safety, no liability will be found 
    • ROGERS V BUS ATHA CLIATH no liability was found when a bus driver was injured in an attack. The defendants had made a significant investment in installing protective screens on a gradual basis on all the buses
    • In CORKERY V BUS EIREANN a few years later liability was imposed when the defendants maintained that the risk to injury did not warrant the installation of protective screens on all their buses. The court rejected this based on the increase of crime in cities rendering protective screens necessary
    The responsibility of an employer to provide training in carrying out duties and to repeat such training on a regular basis
    BARCLAY V AN POST [1998]: provision of training was not enough. Plaintiff, a postman,  had returned to work after a back injury and took on voluntary overtime, which included a number of very low letter boxes. Notwithsatnding the training offered in manual handling, liability was imposed - "the defendants duty of care to the plaintiff included a duty to ensure he did not take up duties which would put undue strain on his back"
    The duty of the employer is to reduce risks as far as is reasonably possible
    • RYAN V IRELAND [1989]:
    • The plaintiff was a soldier serving in the Lebanon. While on guard duty he was attacked and injured. While he accepted that he was in a dangerous work situation where injury was likely he argued that the guard post was inadequately sandbagged. The courts agreed imposing liability on the defendants for failing to minimise the risk
    - Employee may recover damages for psychiatric as well as physical injury that arises due to the negliegence of the employer
    Section 2 of the Civil Liability Act 1961 provides that "'Personal injury' includes any disease and any impairment of a persons physical or mental condition and 'injured' shall be construed accordingly"
  9. Clear guidelines have been provided in cases of nervous shock such as CURRAN V CADBURY (IRL) LTD [2000]
    A fitter was called in to repair the machinery which was shut down while it was being examined. Through hand signals the plaintiff was told not to turn the machine on. Sdhe did not understand the hand signals and turned on the machine at which point she became aware that the fitter was inside. The fitter was unhurt but the plaintiff claimed she suffered psychaitric trauma. It was held that the defendant had fallen short of what a reasonable employer should have done.
    Health and Safety Authority (HSA) defined bullying as "repeated inappropriate behaviour, direct or indirect, whether verbal, physical or otherwise, conducted by one or more persons against another or others, at the place of work and / or in the course of employment which could reasonably be regarded as undermining the individuals right to dignity at work".
    Section 8(2)(b) and 13(1)(e) of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 place obligations on employers to protect employees safely at work which HSA interprets to include obligations to protect against workplace bullying
    Constructive dismissal is when an employee is forced to leave the workplace due to that workplace becoming intolerable e.g. Liz Allen - Allen v Independent Newspapers [2002]
    - Despite there being clear evidence of bullying the Supreme Court overturned the High Court finding in the plaintiffs favour on the basis that insufficient evidence ha been presented to show that the bullying was causitively responsible for the plaintoiffs injuries. The plaintiff only showed signs of mental distress after the dismissal.
    • Plaintiff was a school teacher who's relationship with the school principal deteriorated when a number of promotional decisions did not go her way. The principal even engaged a private detective to follow the teacher which further distressed her when she discovered it. It was held that her employers were directlly and vicariously liable for the bullying which caused her stress and did not take reasonable steps to remedy it
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2012-09-18 19:43:55
Employers Liability

the liability of employers for occupatonal injuries to employees arising from an employers negligence
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