Gunn v Wallsend Slipway and Engineering Co Ltd (1989) The Times, January 23, QBD

12 June 2008

Between 1948 and 1965, the plaintiff’s working clothes were frequently impregnated with asbestos dust. Mrs Gunn, the plaintiff’s wife, washed the plaintiff’s clothes. Before washing, she used to shake the jacket or trousers outside, and the actual washing was done in a tub. This practice continued until 1960, when the plaintiff purchased a washing machine. In 1986, Mrs Gunn died of mesothelioma.

Gregson v Hick Hargreaves & Co Ltd [1955] 3 All ER 507

1 April 2008

Mr Gregson worked in a heavy moulding shop. His job was, once a week, to break down casting moulds by manual effort using hammers, etc. The task of breaking down the moulds gave off a great deal of dust, for the moulds were made of compacted silica sand. After the moulds had been broken down, the remains were raised by crane and tipped into containers. This caused such a cloud of dust that it filled the moulding shop for a while. During tipping the moulders were usually evacuated from the shop until the worst of the dust cloud had settled. During the initial breaking up operation, masks were provided for the men to wear. However, due to the intense heat the men had to work in teams. Two men at a time worked for just two minutes and then had to be relieved. While they were working they were provided with masks but while they were waiting for their turn to come around again they did not wear masks.

Grieves v Everard [2005] EWHC 88, High Court

1 April 2008

10 claimants sought compensation for their development of pleural plaques as a result of past exposure to asbestos. Since about 1985, damages had been awarded or agreed on the basis of the appearance of pleural plaques in X-rays. It was decided to mount a challenge to such awards on two essential grounds. Firstly, no such claimant had suffered an injury sufficient to found a claim in negligence. Secondly, in so far as there was any such injury, the present level of compensation was too high.

Graham v Co-operative Wholesale Society Ltd [1957] 1 All ER 654

5 March 2008

Mr Graham contracted dermatitis from the dust given off by West African mahogany. The dust from this wood was not known by the employer to be a source of danger and no dust extractors were installed to take the dust away. The employer received the regular bulletins from the Furniture Development Council but he said that none of these had ever warned of the danger of contracting dermatitis from this source. Nevertheless Mr Graham claimed damages, alleging breach of statutory duty.

Garrod v North Devon NHS Primary Care Trust [2007] PIQR Q1, High Court

13 November 2007

G started working for N in 1998 as a health visitor. She worked 30 hours a week. In June 2001, she was off work because of depression caused by work pressures. In December 2001, she returned to work on a phased basis and resumed her normal hours in January 2002. In June 2002, G’s colleague was away from work with long-term sickness. G asked for additional assistance with her workload. Her employer asked her to arrange cover herself. She was not able to do this. Her health deteriorated and in June 2002 she suffered a relapse of her depressive illness. In August 2002, she returned to work. She was given assurances that her workload would not increase. These assurances were not fulfilled. Her workload was increased. In February 2003, she went off sick. Her employment was terminated on the grounds of ill-health in October 2003. She was obliged to take early retirement.

Given v James Watt College [2007] SLT 39, Scottish Outer House

13 November 2007

G was employed by J as a kitchen assistant. In May 2003, she was standing near a drinks vending machine at work when it malfunctioned. The machine started hissing loudly and emitting steam. It then emitted a flash in her direction. She was frightened and fell heavily on the floor, suffering injuries to her right hip and wrist. She claimed compensation from J on the basis of common law negligence and a breach of the 1998 regulations.

Gray v Fire Alarm Fabrication Services Ltd and Others [2006] The Times, November 22, CA

13 November 2007

In 2000, Thistle Hotels Ltd appointed EH Humphries (Norton) Ltd as main contractor for electrical work in the refurbishment of a hotel occupied by Thistle in London. Humphries subcontracted installation work on a fire alarm system to Fire Alarm Fabrication Services Ltd. Mr Gray was employed by Fire Alarm Fabrication. In January 2001 he fell through a skylight in the roof of the building, which was owned and occupied by Railtrack plc, suffering fatal injuries. His widow claimed compensation from Fire Alarm Fabrication. Her claim succeeded. Fire Alarm Fabrication claimed that it was entitled to a contribution from Humphries and from Thistle. At first instance, the claim succeeded. Humphries and Thistle appealed to the Court of Appeal.