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A former jockey has won £58,000 in compensation for injuries he suffered at Cheltenham racecourse when his horse fell at the first hurdle.
Philip Hide’s horse skidded and fell at the outer end of the hurdle, causing him to be thrown against one of the posts supporting a guard rail running around the edge of the course. He suffered a head injury and a fractured pelvis in the accident.
Mr Hide brought a claim against the racecourse, which is owned by the Jockey Club, arguing that the hurdle was too close to the guard rail and the post did not have adequate padding. He claimed that this was a breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. However, the managers of the racecourse won the case in the County Court, where it was decided that the post and guard rail were fit for purpose given the conditions in which they were to be used.
Mr Hide challenged the decision of the lower court and his appeal was allowed. The three judges in the Court of Appeal acknowledged that jump racing is a dangerous sport and that Cheltenham racecourse prided itself on its ‘attention to safety considerations’. What mattered, however, was the ‘reasonable foreseeability’ of a collision between a horse or rider and the support post as it was situated. It was the fact that the hurdle in question was situated so close to the post that gave rise to the problem. In the Court’s view, this combination meant that it was reasonably foreseeable that a jockey might be injured.
Mr Hide, who has now made a full recovery and has become a trainer, was awarded £58,000 in compensation.
The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations cover workplaces where the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 applies, which include factories, offshore installations, offices, shops, hospitals, hotels, places of entertainment etc.