Q&As

Is there any case law or guidance on the relevant legal considerations when deciding whether an employer may be liable for a bookshelf falling on a claimant while they are working from home?

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Produced in partnership with Peter Edwards of Devereux Chambers
Published on LexisPSL on 02/05/2018

The following PI & Clinical Negligence Q&A produced in partnership with Peter Edwards of Devereux Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Is there any case law or guidance on the relevant legal considerations when deciding whether an employer may be liable for a bookshelf falling on a claimant while they are working from home?

Is there any case law or guidance on the relevant legal considerations when deciding whether an employer may be liable for a bookshelf falling on a claimant while they are working from home?

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER 1998), SI 1998/2306 apply to work equipment used by an employee when working at home. A bookshelf used to store work-related materials may be classified as work equipment. Hence, an employer may be under an obligation to conduct a Risk Assessment and to ensure that the bookshelf was maintained in good repair and that it was suitable for the purpose for which it was provided. Contributory negligence may need to be considered if the claimant built the bookshelf incorrectly, was aware that it was unstable before the accident or failed to attach it to the wall.

PUWER 1998, SI 1998/2306, reg 3(2) defines the application of PUWER 1998 to cover ‘equipment provided for use or used by an employee of [the employer] at work’. The definition is, plainly, wide enough to cover

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