The defendant contractor secured a contract to decorate the exterior of a building. The claimant was a painter and decorator in partnership with his father and they were instructed by the defendant to carry out the work. The work required the use of scaffolding, but no ladder was provided by the defendant to reach from ground level to first stage in order to prevent unauthorised access to the scaffolding when the contractors were not on site.

On the date in question, the claimant used his own ladder to reach the first stage but he did not secure the foot of the ladder or have a second person placed at the foot of the ladder to prevent it slipping. The claimant fell from the ladder when it slipped and was seriously injured.

The claimant brought proceedings against the defendant contractor alleging that his injuries were caused by the contractor’s breach of Regulation 4 of the Construction (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1996. To succeed in his claim the claimant had to show that he was either an employee of the defendant or that the defendant controlled the work and as a result the defendant had a statutory duty to provide a safe means of climbing the scaffolding. As this involved a ladder the duty was either to provide a fixed ladder or ensure the ladder was secured by a second person at the foot.