The claimant was a helper at a community centre club, where a member reported a flood in the ladies’ toilet.
She discovered that all three sinks had taps on and plugs in and they were overflowing and the floor was wet. She went to the sinks to turn them off and as she did so she slipped and fell.
We alleged the overflow pipe was broken but the Judge found we had not proved that.
We further argued there should be a system of checking the toilets every half hour or hour. The irregular checks used at the club were a breach of Regulation 12 (3) of the Workplace Regulations. Checks were necessary in a public club, more so as the club was open to children. There had been an incident several years before where there had been a similar flood because of horseplay by children.
We also alleged the taps should have an automatic shut off after a certain time: such taps had been fitted since the accident.
We argued there should have been a risk assessment under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations(MHSW Regs,) to identify how to react in a flood situation and how safely to mop up the water rather than walking across it first.
The defendant said their system was a reasonable one. It was reactive and ad hoc but there was no sufficient quantity of previous events that justified proactive inspections.
The Judge said there should have been an inspection system of at least once an hour. It was a public building. He also agreed that the sinks should have had flow limiting taps.
He found also for us under the argument of risk assessments, under regulation 3 and 13 of the MHSW Regs, he ruled children were encouraged to attend the premises and a risk assessment of flooding as a result of children’s horseplay would have led to instructions and training to mop up the water instead of walking on it.
Judgment for the claimant.
Newcastle upon Tyne CC, 2 March 2010