HKLLC

Recent judgment on employer’s breach of statutory duty

01 November, 2018

The case handled by our Personal Injury litigation team examined the issue of breach of statutory duty. The plaintiff, an employee of the Nicosia District Administration, was working in a village of the district of Nicosia alongside three other workers, where they carried out various types of work such as firewalls, for the construction of which they needed mountain stones, which they used to remove from a point outside the village. The plaintiff and his supervisor, upon the instructions of the latter, went to a place outside the village, in order to collect stones. As soon as they arrived, the supervisor went away for a couple of minutes and the plaintiff began digging stones from the mountain, following the instructions he received from his supervisor. He was working at a height of three meters above ground level, and whilst hitting the rock, which was quite big and heavy, the rock fell on the ground. The rock hit another rock whilst changing its direction, and as a result, it fell on the plaintiff’s leg. The plaintiff then lost his balance and fell to the ground, falling from the height at which he was standing. At the time of the incident, the plaintiff was not wearing a helmet or gloves.

The District Court of Nicosia, having considered the legislation and regulations governing health and safety at work, as well as employers’ liability in general, held that, since the plaintiff was employed by the Nicosia District Administration, the Republic of Cyprus, which was considered to be his employer, and should comply with the obligations and regulations prescribed by the law. Consequently, the breach of statutory duty, gave the right to the plaintiff to seek and recover the damages he sustained from that breach.

The Court found that the fact that the claimant was working at a height of more than two meters had induced the accident. In particular, the Court was of the opinion that the plaintiff was asked to carry out a job that required him to climb up some height and the failure of the defendant to provide the plaintiff with the equipment that would protect him from falling or to take other appropriate measures to guard the claimant from falling, constitutes a breach of the defendant’s statutory duties and obligations, since the special shoes that had been given to him protected merely the toes of his feet and did not prevent the risk of him falling or getting injured.

In conclusion, the Court found that the plaintiff had not disobeyed any instructions, neither had he exposed himself to any sort of danger, nor had he failed in any way in carrying out his job. As a result, the Court found that the defendant breached its statutory duty, and due to that breach, the plaintiff endured injuries and damages.

For any questions or comments, you may contact our Personal Injury litigation team at [email protected]