NHS Gritting systems
In this case it was held that gritting the road on the evening before and at a set time in the morning was a suitable and sufficient system to discharge an NHS Trust’s duty of care, despite the gritting taking place at a time after many staff had arrived for work. The roads were gritted between 9pm and midnight the night before snow was forecast and were due to be done again at 7.30am. The claimant fell off his scooter at 7am at a time he said most cleaners and kitchen staff would have arrived.
The defendant said the gritting system was the “jewel in the crown of NHS gritting systems”, set up after consultation between management and staff.
The Judge held this system of risk assessment, consultation and action was adequate under the Workplace Regs and common law and the fact the claimant had fallen on ice did not mean the system was flawed.
Claim dismissed – counsel felt this was a policy decision in part as the system of gritting was the same throughout the North West and the defendant argued that to find another system would involve expensive reorganisation at all NHS Trusts in the area.
Darby -v- Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, 24 November 2005, Oldham CC.
Trapping hands in a window
The claimant was a caretaker. He had to stretch awkwardly to close a series of windows in a science block. He stood on a windowsill to reach one where a display in front of the window made his reach harder. As he shut the window, he caught his hand and had a de-gloving injury. The windows had loops so were designed to be closed by poles. However, there was a dispute over whether poles were available.
It was held that:
• the post- accident risk assessment showed there was a hazard and thus a foreseeable risk of injury
• poles would have removed that risk
• there was a breach of Regulation 5 of the Workplace Regs, ie: unsafe system of work
• one-third contrib’ for standing on the sill as opposed to the ground.
Lill -v- City of Wakefield Met District Council, 11 January 2006, Leeds CC.