Court Success: Fire Service not liable for injury sustained during training exercise

  • The claimant was on a water training exercise when the injury took place
  • He collided with an underwater obstacle sustaining a cut to his leg resulting in a scar and bruising
  • It is key that all training and supervision provided is properly planned and sufficient for all circumstances

Circumstances
The claimant was on a water training exercise when he collided with an underwater obstacle sustaining a cut to his leg resulting in a scar and bruising.

Allegations
The claimant solicitors made the following allegations:
• Failure to provide appropriate PPE;
• Inadequate training;
• Lack of supervision.

Decision
The Judge, Deputy District Judge Beevers, was of the view that the training and supervision provided by the Insured was properly planned and sufficient in all the circumstances.  The Judge fully understood the balance which needs to be struck when providing realistic training scenarios for fire fighters, and he was of the view that the Insured had struck that balance in this instance.

With regard to the issue of additional PPE, the Judge accepted our argument that the provision of further PPE was trialled after the Claimant’s alleged accident, and found to be problematic on the basis that it caused more serious issues than it resolved.  Our case was that the provision of additional padding, such as shin pads, knee pads and elbow pads etc, provided too much additional buoyancy and also made it very restrictive for the fire fighters to swim effectively, thus making the scenario more dangerous than if the padding was not worn.  The Judge accepted all of this and was of the view that the injuries which could be sustained by striking underwater obstacles such as the plastic box in question was relatively minor.

He therefore dismissed the claim and vindicated our stance in this matter.

This claim was handled by Sarah Mellor in our Leeds Casualty Team