- Burnie Port Authority (BPA) occupied a warehouse and allowed welding to happen near some cardboard.
- This caused a fire which caused A$2.5M of damages to the neighbours’ goods.
- Was the BPA responsible even though the welders were contractors?
- The BPA took no steps to avoid the risk.
- The BPA owed a non-delegable duty of care; long recognised in terms of personal injury.
- As such they must have made all reasonable steps to protect others.
- Because there was a dangerous substance they should have taken greater care, especially when it was obvious welding could cause this harm.
“The rule in Rylands v Fletcher, with all its difficulties, uncertainties, qualifications, and exceptions, should now be seen … as absorbed by the rules of ordinary negligence. Under those principles, a person who takes advantage of his or her control of premises to introduce a dangerous substance, to carry on a dangerous activity, or to allow another to do one of those things, owes a duty of reasonable care to avoid a reasonably foreseeble risk of injury or damage to the person or the property of another.”
(Mason CJ, Deane, Dawson, Toohey and Gaudron JJ at pages 556-57)
The full text is available here: https://jade.io/summary/mnc/1994/HCA/13
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