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When is a person expected to take reasonable care for their own safety? Vincent v Woolworths Limited (2016) NSWCA 40

Authors: Julia Cantarella and Simon Lusk

Summary

On 27 November 2008, the appellant, Ms Christine Vincent, sustained injuries to her back and knee when she stepped off a safety ladder and into the path of a moving shopping trolley in a Woolworths supermarket.

Ms Vincent was employed as a merchandiser by Counterpoint Marketing & Sales Pty Ltd.  Immediately prior to the incident, she was arranging shampoo products on shelves in an aisle whilst standing on a 50cm high safety ladder supplied by Woolworths.  It later became evident from the CCTV footage tendered at trial that, when preparing to step off the ladder, Ms Vincent looked to her left and right but failed to turn her head fully to either side to check for persons behind her.

Significant cases, legislation or articles referred to:

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