Barry v Dunnes Stores Clonmel (Limited)

In dismissing the Defendant’s argument that the Plaintiff had acted in a manner contrary to her safety training and had caused the injury to herself, Irvine J stated:

“Every employee must take care for their own safety… However, the fact that an employer may train its staff at the time of recruitment and intermittently thereafter regarding the risk of injury to their back is significantly negated if, in daily practice, the methods for moving goods safely as advised in the course of training are not deployed by employees and managers do not enforce compliance with training and safe practice. In this regard I am satisfied from the evidence of the plaintiff… that it was not uncommon for trolleys to be stacked in the manner in which they were stacked on the day of the plaintiff’s injury.”

The plaintiff was not fully absolved of liability however, and in assessing whether there was contributory negligence, the court ruled:

“Regardless of these facts the Plaintiff should have known not to try to lift down the box which caused her injury. She did this without ascertaining its weight. Had the plaintiff ascertained its weight by getting a step ladder, albeit it that this may have taken some minutes, I think this injury would not have happened. Alternatively she should have recognized the risk of taking any load from over head height and she should have refused to do so. In either set of circumstances the plaintiff would not have been injured. Accordingly I have decided that she must bear 30% of the liability for her Injuries.”

The full judgement can be read here:

S.Major, Lacey Solicitors