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Dec 2001 – Paper 1 Question 9

A kitchen assistant was badly scalded when a water heater boiled over due to a
manufacturing fault in the thermostat. With reference to case law where appropriate, provide
notes to explain the civil and criminal law implications of this accident. (10)

Civil
 Employer’s Liability (Defective Equipment) Act 1969 – liability on the employer for
injury caused by defective equipment – even though the fault lies with another party
entirely
o Redresses Davie v New Merton Board Mills Ltd 1959
o Does not preclude subsequent action for employer to recover damages from
manufacturer
 Consumer Protection Act 1987 - Strict liability placed on manufacturers who have
duty of care to an end user
o Donaghue v Stevenson – relationship seldom needs defining by means of the
neighbour test
 Employer directly liable only if it can be shown that they knew about the fault or
should reasonably have known about it and had allowed the equipment to be used
o Breach of statutory duty - PUWER 4-6 suitability of equipment, maintenance
and inspection
o Negligence - Wilsons & Clyde Coal Co Ltd v English – employer’s common
law duty to provide safe plant and equipment
 Employer to manufacturer
o Sales of Goods Act 1979 – fit for purpose
o Consumer Protection Act 1987 – liability for damage caused by
defective goods
Criminal
 Manufacturer of equipment
o HSWA Section 6 – Show that manufacture had failed to ensure sfairp that the
article was constructed so as to be safe, had failed to carry out appropriate
testing and/or had failed to take steps to ensure that the users were made
aware of any fault discovered
 Employer
o HSWA Section 2 and PUWER