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Elizabeth McLachlan v. Early Learning Centre [2011] CSOH 25


On 20 October 2007, the pursuer sustained injury in an accident at work while employed by the defenders as a senior sales assistant at their retail premises at Parkhead Forge, Glasgow. The pursuer fell from a ladder while attempting to retrieve a box from a high shelf in the stockroom of the premises. The defenders admitted liability to make reparation to the pursuer in respect of their breach of regulation 6(2) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

The defenders argued that the pursuer had been contributorily negligent in her actions. While the Lord Ordinary noted that it was clear from the evidence that the pursuer was scaling a ladder when she should not have been required to do by her employers, the court found that in the absence of any latent defect with the ladder itself, the pursuer must to some extent have been careless when retrieving the item from the racks. The Lord Ordinary noted that a non-defective A-frame ladder would not simply collapse without some unbalancing force having been applied to it, and concluded that such a force could have been created if the pursuer transferred her whole weight from the racking back to the ladder when attempting to descend. The court determined that a reduction of 25% of damages would be applied in recognition of contributory negligence.

The Lord Ordinary assessed the total value of the claim as £12,800 and after reduction, granted decree for the sum of £9,600.