Slippy path to being sued…

Its winter and we are all feeling the cold. During such cold weather, when there is a risk of icy conditions remember to try and limit the risk of slipping for employees or visitors to your site.

October 2014, we saw the most significant case regarding this. A home care worker slipped on a path whilst visiting an elderly lady’s home. The employee was wearing flat shows with some ridging on the soles but she still fell on the iced footpath and fractured her wrist. Initially the Court found in her favour and against the employer. However the employer filed for an appeal and the case went to the Supreme Court and the same conclusion was met again.

The Court did review the company’s approach to risk assessment. Years prior to the accident, the company had identified the potential for slipping on icy surfaces. Whilst the hazard was naturally occurring this did not absolve the employer from taking action – equally the same as employers are responsible for protecting employees from extremely hot or wet weather whilst at work.

The Court also found the employer has breached the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 as they had not provided specific details relating to the appropriate footwear further the Court deemed the company could have provided non slip overshoes.  

So the point from this to take onboard -

If your staff travel during winter then it may be worth investing in non slip overshoes which are less than £20.00 and have been shown to be effective with reducing the risk of slipping. If doing so, you can request the employee to sign a document which states they have been informed and provided with slip overshoes to be worn in icy conditions.

Lawgistics members can obtain Health and Safety advice from the legal team.


Authors: Roxanne Bradley

Published: 09 Feb 2017


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