Riordan v Clyde Shipping Company

CourtSupreme Court
Judgment Date20 December 1944
Date20 December 1944

Supreme Court.

Riordan v. Clyde Shipping Co.
In the Matter of the WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION ACT, 1934, and in the Matter of an Arbitration between JOHN RIORDAN, Applicant, and CLYDE SHIPPING COMPANY, LTD., Respondents (1)

Workmen's Compensation - Award - Total incapacity of workman - Serious and permanent disablement - Unauthorised act by workman - Finding that act was performed "for the purpose of and in connection with" employers' trade or business - Whether "deemed to arise out of and in the course of" the employment - Workmen's Compensation Act, 1934 (No. 9of 1934), s. 15, sub-s. 2.

Appeal on behalf of the respondents, the Clyde Shipping Company, Ltd., from an order of the Deputy Circuit Court Judge of Cork, dated the 16th February, 1943, awarding the applicant, John Riordan, compensation under the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1934, at the rate of 30s. per week against the respondents.

The respondent company appealed on the grounds that the Deputy Circuit Court Judge had misdirected himself in law in finding that the accident arose "out of and in the course of" the employment, and that there was no evidence to support that finding.

The facts have been summarised in the headnote and are sufficiently stated for the purposes of this report in the judgment of Sullivan C.J.

Sect. 15, sub-s. 2, of the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1934, provides:—

"Where an accident results in the death or serious and permanent disablement of a workman, such accident shall for the purpose of this Act, be deemed to arise out of and in the course of his employment notwithstanding the fact that such workman was at the time when such accident happened acting in contravention of any statutory or other regulation applicable to his employment, or of any orders given by or on behalf of his employer, or that he was acting without instructions from his employer, if such act was done by such workman for the purpose of and in connection with his employer's trade or business."

The duty of a workman was to feed and water cattle and to look after them generally while in transit in one of the respondent company's vessels. Under the terms of his employment, such food as he required on the voyage was provided by the workman, while his quarters on the vessel were fitted with steel lockers to be used by him to store his food until it was required.

Ventilation of the holds and under-deck parts of the vessel was effected by means of a number of shafts, each containing an electrically-driven steel fan attached to the top of a metal box which contained the motor driving the fan. The metal box was secured in position by three steel brackets which ran from the box to the sides of the shaft, the operation of the motor being controlled from the engine-room by the ship's engineers.

As the heat of the weather and the heat from an adjacent steam-pipe rendered the lockers provided by the company unsuitable for the purpose of storing perishable food in warm weather, the workman attempted to suspend a small box containing his food from a bracket in one of the ventilation shafts in which the fan was then revolving, in the belief that the draught created by the fan would keep his food fresh. The workman and other cattlemen had, unknown to the respondent company, adopted this method of keeping their food fresh in similar circumstances on former occasions.

In the attempt to secure the rope to the bracket, the rope became caught in the blades of the revolving fan, and was wound upwards His hand coming into contact with the blades, the workman sustained such injuries that he was totally incapacitated and suffered serious and permanent disablement.

The Deputy Circuit Court Judge awarded the workman compensation, holding that it was not necessary for the workman to prove that the accident arose out of and in the course of his employment as he was doing an act "for the purpose of and in connection with his employers' trade or business," and, therefore, under s. 15, sub-s. 2, the accident must be "deemed to arise out of and in...

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