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A large number of accidents within the workplace are caused by trips and slips.
Employers owe their employees a duty of care to ensure that the workplace is kept clean and tidy. The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 apply to most workplaces and impose strict duties on the employer. The Regulations state that the workplace must be maintained “in an efficient state, in efficient working order, and in good repair”. The flooring and the type of surface should be “suitable for the purpose for which it is used” and in particular, floors should have “no hole or slope, or be uneven or slippery so as, in each case, to expose any person to a risk to his health and safety”. Further, “every floor in a workplace and the surface of every traffic route in a workplace shall be kept free from obstruction and from any article or substance which may cause a person to slip, trip or fall”.
“No two cases are the same and the facts of each case have to be considered in order to assess the merits.”
A common cause of a slipping accident is when an area has been cleaned but not mopped up properly so as to leave a slippery surface or, where liquid has been spilled, just left. The situation is made worse if there are no warning signs in place. Your employer has a duty to ensure that cleaners are appropriately trained and that employees know that if they spill something, they should take immediate steps to clean it up and to ensure that a warning sign is in place.
During busy times, commercial kitchens are hectic and it is all too easy for individuals to forget to clear up greasy food or water that has been spilled. Slipping in kitchens is a common cause of accidents. Your employer has a duty to ensure that all risks have been assessed and that procedures are in place for such spillages to be cleaned up.
Your employer must ensure that appropriate systems are in place to ensure that the workplace is free from obstructions that may be a tripping hazard. For example, your employer must make sure that there are no trailing cables or wires. In a factory environment, this would mean that appropriate arrangements must be made for electric power tools; in an office environment, for example, computer cables must be properly managed and not trail across the office floor.
This duty applies to all workplaces including offices, factories, warehouses, commercial kitchens etc. – indeed, every workplace.
Injuries suffered as a result of slipping and tripping accidents usually involve fractures or tendon/ligament damage. Such injuries are debilitating and can lead to a long period of time spent out of work.
Your employer is legally obliged to take out insurance cover known as Employers Liability Insurance to cover themselves in the event of an accident. Therefore, it is the insurers who would pay the compensation and not your employer. Your employer is not allowed to discriminate against you simply because you are making a claim. Obviously, we cannot guarantee how your employer will react although in our experience, it is very rare indeed for the employer to be difficult. In fact, most employers are anxious to assist the injured employee to recover and aid a speedy return back to work.
Legal aid is not available for these types of claims and we therefore offer assistance under a No Win No Fee Agreement. For free legal advice, contact our specialist Personal Injury team on 023 92 483322 (Havant) or on 023 80 631111 (Southampton). Alternatively, complete the response e-mail slip.