Highlights of Noteworthy Decisions

Decision 359 14
M. Crystal
  • Negligence
  • Transfer of costs
  • Transportation industry (truck driver)

The worker was driving a service vehicle owned by the accident employer, a forest services company. The worker died as a result of a motor vehicle accident when he struck some tree-length logs that had fallen from a logging truck, which had been travelling in the opposite direction on a provincial highway. The employer appealed a decision of the Appeals Resolution Officer denying transfer of the costs of the claim to the owner of the logging truck.

According to Board policy, negligence is failing to do something which a reasonable and prudent person would do, or doing something which a reasonable and prudent person would not do. A transfer of costs is appropriate if there is such negligence and the accident is caused by that omission or commission.
The load on the logging truck was secured by four tie-downs. This met the applicable standard for securement. Neither the owner nor the driver of the logging truck was negligent in relation to the number of tie-downs that were applied to the load.
However, there was a significant basis for a determination of negligence on the part of the driver of the logging truck relating to the time of the application of the tie-downs. The driver had driven the logging truck about six kilometres on a rough portion of forest access road prior to applying the tie-downs. The driver did not observe the standard accepted practice by driving his truck away from the loading dock without first securing his load. The manner in which a load is placed and arranged on the trailer by the loader requires special care and skill. By driving with the load unsecured for a significant distance, the careful arrangement carried out by the loader could be disturbed, leading to a subsequent problem.
The Vice-Chair concluded that the driver's decision not to secure his load until he had driven six kilometres on very rough road in slippery conditions, contributed significantly to the subsequent loss of part of the load and the accident.
There was no contributory negligence on the part of the worker. The employer was entitled to transfer of the full costs of the claim to the class or group to which the owner of the logging truck belonged. The appeal was allowed.