IN THE COURT OF APPEAL (CIVIL DIVISION)
ON APPEAL FROM ORDER OF MISS RECORDER GODFREY QC
(Sheffield County Court)
B e f o r e :
LORD JUSTICE MANTELL
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|SHEFFIELD CITY COUNCIL||Respondent|
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"(b) where it is not reasonably practicable to avoid the need for employees to undertake any manual handling operations at work which involved a risk of their being injured -
(i) make a suitable and sufficient assessment of all such manual handling operations to be undertaken by them, having regard to the factors which are specified in column 1 of Schedule 1 to these Regulations and considering the questions which are specified in the corresponding entry in column 2 of that Schedule,
(ii) take appropriate steps to reduce the risk of injury to those employees arising out of their undertaking any such manual handling operations to the lowest level reasonably practicable ..... "
"For my part, I am quite prepared to accept ..... "
that what is involved, to use my own words
"that there must be a real risk, a foreseeable possibility of injury; certainly nothing approaching a probability. I am also prepared to accept that, in making an assessment of whether there is such a risk of injury, the employer is not entitled to assume that all his employees will on all occasions behave with full and proper concern for their own safety. I accept that the purpose of regulations such as these is indeed to place upon employers obligations to look after their employees' safety which they might not otherwise have.
However, in making such assessments there has to be an element of realism. As the guidance on the regulations points out, in appendix 1 at paragraph 3:
` ..... a full assessment of every manual handling operation could be a major undertaking and might involve wasted effort.'"
"I find that although there had been concerns about safety, and they are recorded in the minutes of the meetings that are before me, over the years, they are, however, in respect of loading those bins onto the wagon and there was no reference in any of those minutes to the need to train refuse collectors in how to pull wheelie bins or anxiety in respect of slopes. There had been an issue as to where the bins were to be left and that is rather separate from an anxiety about safety of men pulling bins up slopes. I am not satisfied that that was ever raised as a complaint. So no training was ever given on pulling bins to the wagon, but I find that there was not a real risk of injury in such an operation. But, to the extent that there must be an inherent risk in every task that one performs, that risk in this case I find, on the evidence of both the complainant and Mr Grant, who said that on numerous occasions throughout all their years of employment as a regular method of work they would pull the bins or push the bins up these slopes, I find risk of injury to be a very low one and indeed the accident book does not contain complaints of dustmen, refuse collectors, having frequent injuries, pulling bins up and pushing them [down the] slopes or indeed of flying over the top of them, as was suggested as a regular occurrence ..... "
"The dustman, once he has got it under his control, will be the person who will know what is the best way to do it. Until he has got it under his control he has no idea of the contents of it, the contents being very, very crucial."