An injury has to be reasonably foreseeable consequence of negligence or breach of a statutory duty.
What the claimant is likely to be claiming is a breach of the statutory duty to put in place a safe system of work” which includes not only providing safety equipment but also instructing people to how to use the safety equipment and monitoring the use.
This was a heavy item should have been instructed how to lift the item and given guidelines on how heavy something should be before he seeks assistance.
Provided you have all that in place and he simply ignored it then his claim is likely to fail if it gets to court. If however you don’t have all that in place or cannot prove that you have it in place because none of it is document, his claim is likely to succeed.
There is one other issue here and that is with regard to the gloves. If you can prove that it wearing the gloves would have prevented the injury or lessened you may be able to plead contributory negligence which is the situation where he is partly responsible injury and any compensation that he receives is reduced according.
You cannot delegate the statutory duty of putting in a safe system of work so if you appointed the firm to do this , and the person was still injured, it is still your company’s neck which now which is on the block.
The fact that you would 20 miles away makes no difference.
Nor is the fact that he is self-employed is relevant because he is working under your instruction and therefore you are under the duty to put in the safe system of work.
The leading case is Mc Williams v Sir William Arrol and Company, case from 1962 which is interesting because it was an injury sustained (actually it was death and the claim was brought by his estate) where the defendant employer failed to provide safety harness but the claim failed because there was sufficient proof to say that even if the employer had provided the harnesses, the employee would not have worn one.
You are also under a statutory duty to have employers liability and therefore this is something which you should pass to your insurer if you get a letter from his solicitor.
Can I clarify anything ?