This case was an appeal by Geoffrey Henser-Leather, (the Claimant), against the order of HH Judge Hawkesworth QC dismissing his claim against his employer, Securicor Cash Services, (the Defendant), for personal injury sustained during the course of his employment.

Mr Henser-Leather was employed by Securicor as the Bradford branch security officer on 01 September 1986. 

In 1988/89 he began work as a one-man operation cash guard on Securicor’s “Business Link” service. F drove a marked van and was provided with security equipment in the form of a helmet and visor and smoke boxes.

On 31 August 1995, the Claimant was collecting cash from a petrol station in Leeds. His van was parked as close to the entrance of the petrol station as possible and he went into the back of the shop. He was given £4900 in cash and cheques and left the shop. On leaving the shop he was approached by a robber shouting and demanding he hand over the box. The robber grabbed the box and shot the Claimant in the stomach with a .38 calibre handgun.

The Claimant suffered damage to his internal organs including his liver and his gall bladder and a kidney were removed as a result of the gunshot. The bullet was left lodged in the Claimant’s spine after doctors concluded it was safer to do so. He also suffered a psychological reaction.

The Claimant submitted the judge was wrong in dismissing his claim in that:

(a) having found that Securicor was in breach of its duty of care to him, in that there was a foreseeable risk of injury to him and that it had failed to obtain body armour that was suitable and available in 1995, the judge wrongly found that the duty was restricted to only making it available for the Claimant’s use instead of finding the duty extended to requiring him to wear it;

(b) the judge on the basis that he was exposed to a lesser risk wrongly distinguished the Claimant as a Business Link guard from other cash-in-transit guards;

(c) the judge wrongly found that the Claimant would not have worn the body armour in any event; and

(d) the judge, having found that under Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 Securicor would have been in breach of its statutory duty in failing to provide and enforce the wearing of body armour, wrongly found the Regulations did not apply to the use of body armour as self-defence/deterrent equipment.

HELD:

(1) A breach of the Regulations would have given rise to a claim for civil liability. Reg. 2 defined personal protective equipment as “all equipment which is intended to be worn or held by a person at work….which protects him against one or more risks to his health or safety. This definition would include body armour but would require consideration together with the provisions in Reg 4. which state the suitability and appropriateness of the personal protection equipment must not increase the overall risk to the wearer.

Reg. 6 provided that an employer must ensure adequate assessment on whether equipment had to be provided and whether it was suitable, particular consideration being given to the risks that wearing it could create as well as the characteristics of the equipment itself.

The general “Risk” could be controlled by undertaking actions such as parking a van close to the cash office, training for staff not to offer resistance in the event of a robbery and smoke box training.

Reg. 6 instilled an obligation on an employer to ensure body armour was assessed and provided where necessary.

On the facts suitable armour was available in 1995.

(2) Reg 10 imposed an obligation on an employer to ensure that body material was provided and used properly. Securicor did not do this and therefore it could not be concluded the Claimant would not have used the armour had it been provided.

(3) Securicor’s primary obligations were to comply with Reg 4.

(4) The risk to F could not have been described as low, whilst the vest would not have prevented the penetration of a bullet it would have reduced the risk of serious injury

(5) The conclusions are specific to the case which had been decided on facts.

RESULT:

Appeal allowed.