IRAC Example

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IRAC Example 2:

Hilift Pty Ltd (Hilift) owns an industrial crane. Hilift employs two crane operators, Elwyn and Osman, who each work 4 hour shifts. In May 2008 the owner/builder of a new apartment block hires Hilift’s crane and operators for two weeks to lift building materials to the upper floors of their building. At the end of the first shift on the 10 May, Elwyn notifies the manager of Hilift that the crane is not performing properly and that it needs looking at. The manager contacts the company who does repairs and maintenance work on the crane, EFL Engineering, and asks for an engineer to be sent out immediately. EFL says that no-one is available for two hours. The manager of Hilift decides to allow Osman to begin his shift
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While a person is not generally liable in tort for psychological harm, this is a special case under the "pure mental illness" exception, whereby the plaintiff, Osman, witnessed the two construction workers being severely injured
Neighbour principle: Established a duty of care between employer and employee in Wilson & Clide Coal Co LTG v English (1938): employers owe employees a duty of care to provide a safe working environment, and Paris v Stepney Borough Council (1951).

2. Breach?
Standard of care: the “reasonable man” definitely would have believed there to be a real and foreseeable risk that the plaintiff might be injured if the crane malfunctioned or broke
The “reasonable man” would have waited the two hours for an engineer from EFL Engineering to check the crane.
The “reasonable man” would have exercised a much greater standard of care, particularly as the crane was lifting building materials to upper floors and the consequences if the crane malfunctioned were very serious.

3. Damage?
Osman was “deeply traumatized” and cannot drive a crane again
He received psychiatric treatment and would eventually take lower paid work.
Causation: if Hilift had waited for EFL Engineering, the cable would not have snapped and would not have caused Osman’s psychological injury. (“But for”
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