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defending a slip on ice claim

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Tim Nice But Dim
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defending a slip on ice claim

Post by Tim Nice But Dim » Sun Apr 14, 2019 5:16 pm

Hi,

just wondering if there was any case law to defend against a claim for slipping on a pavement the claimant deemed to have been slippery due to inclemental weather. It had been cold and icy for a few days so IMHO they should be aware of the risk. Claiming under occupier liability.

There is a gritting policy and i have a work sheet to show that it had been gritted. Only ones i could see were from highways but that wouldn't apply here.

Essex
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Re: defending a slip on ice claim

Post by Essex » Sun Apr 14, 2019 7:26 pm

I may be wrong but I think that as soon as you grit or put any kind of treatment on to ice you are taking responsibility for its safe use.

Better to either leave it well alone or stop using those routes.
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Re: defending a slip on ice claim

Post by bernicarey » Sun Apr 14, 2019 7:53 pm

Essex wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 7:26 pm
I may be wrong but I think that as soon as you grit or put any kind of treatment on to ice you are taking responsibility for its safe use.

Better to either leave it well alone or stop using those routes.
Well that's one way to disrupt a business.
Any route within your control, which might lead to a civil claim, is exactly that 'within your control' whatever you decide to do.
'Better to either leave it well alone' is certainly worthy of Mythbusters, and not using the route could well be impractical, such as if it's the main entrance!

If you've followed the advice of the HSE then any defending of a civil claim is more a case of what your insurers are likely to want to support.

http://www.hse.gov.uk/logistics/slips-t ... eather.htm
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Tim Nice But Dim
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Re: defending a slip on ice claim

Post by Tim Nice But Dim » Sun Apr 14, 2019 8:01 pm

bernicarey wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 7:53 pm
Essex wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 7:26 pm
I may be wrong but I think that as soon as you grit or put any kind of treatment on to ice you are taking responsibility for its safe use.

Better to either leave it well alone or stop using those routes.
Well that's one way to disrupt a business.
Any route within your control, which might lead to a civil claim, is exactly that 'within your control' whatever you decide to do.
'Better to either leave it well alone' is certainly worthy of Mythbusters, and not using the route could well be impractical, such as if it's the main entrance!

If you've followed the advice of the HSE then any defending of a civil claim is more a case of what your insurers are likely to want to support.

http://www.hse.gov.uk/logistics/slips-t ... eather.htm
problem with that is that the route is used by employees as well as such the employer would be criminally liable i would think under reg 12 of the Workplace (Health Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 includes a requirement "every floor in a workplace… shall be kept free from… any substance which may cause a person to slip, trip or fall".

It is foreseeable that during cold weather that paths may become slippery and reasonable to grit.

From HSE page i think the only 2 things that we can't do are:
"Consider covering walkways e.g. by an arbour high enough for people to walk through, or use an insulating material on smaller areas overnight;"- as too far from building

"Divert pedestrians to less slippery walkways and barrier off existing ones." It's the only walkway. We would be diverting them onto a busy road.

I'll see what insurer would like to do. Probably settle.

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Re: defending a slip on ice claim

Post by Matt TargetHSS » Mon Apr 15, 2019 7:28 am

One thing to bear in mind is that liability claims aren’t tested against H&S regulations, but under the reasonable man test. Although, in practice compliance can demonstrate the actions of ‘a reasonable man’

How in depth is the inclement weather policy?
Did the slip happen near an entrance, or on a remote part of the site? A “reasonable man” is more likely to grit more frequently in an area that is likely to refreeze before becoming used again.

The duty for OLA is only to ensure that visitors are reasonably safe, not that 100% of ice is cleared. Location and consideration to the foreseeable are key.


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Re: defending a slip on ice claim

Post by Tim Nice But Dim » Tue Apr 16, 2019 11:52 pm

pretty in depth. Gritted night before. slipped on a reasonably busy bit, unfortunately gritters didn't to that bit before they slipped, about 07:30

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Re: defending a slip on ice claim

Post by neboshnoob » Wed May 08, 2019 2:06 pm

Tim Nice But Dim wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 5:16 pm

just wondering if there was any case law to defend against a claim for slipping on a pavement the claimant deemed to have been slippery due to inclemental weather. It had been cold and icy for a few days so IMHO they should be aware of the risk. Claiming under occupier liability.
Could Latimer V AEC Ltd be relevant here?

It's being able to prove all reasonable steps were taken to control the hazard.

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Re: defending a slip on ice claim

Post by stephen1974 » Tue Jul 16, 2019 1:46 am

Essex wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 7:26 pm
I may be wrong but I think that as soon as you grit or put any kind of treatment on to ice you are taking responsibility for its safe use.

Better to either leave it well alone or stop using those routes.
This is a Myth straight out of the tabloids. Im pretty sure the HSE even did one of their myth buster pieces on it.

As has been pointed out, there is a duty of care to ensure walkways are safe (roads as well if they are within your area of responsibility).
I would say sections 3.1 and 4.2 of HASAWA, Reg 12 of Workplace Regs and 2.2 of OLA.

It would come down to the processes and procedures that you have in place.
Do you have a specific trigger point for gritting? or is it based on someones opinion?
Is the gritting monitored to ensure all routes are done properly and remain in a useable condition?
If you cant grit all areas quickly can you provide alternate routes and information to alert people to these routes?
and so on...

However, you said the gritters didnt grit the bit they slipped on, in which case I think you are up the swany. The reasonable man would assume that if they were walking along a gritted walkway that walkway would be gritted along its whole length and not part way and wouldnt be taking any additional care. Were any signs put out to alert people that the gritting had stopped?

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