Slipping and safe systems of work
The claimant was a cook. Her colleague was washing vegetables with water for about 10 minutes before she took a grill pan to him, turned and slipped and fell due to water on the floor. There was a good procedure for spillages including immediate action to put cones around any spillage and to deal with it and all witnesses, including the claimant, confirmed they knew of and used the system.
But the Judge accepted there was a possible weakness in the system if spillages were not noticed on the beige floor. The defendant witness admitted under cross examination the shiny smooth tiles were dangerous and slippery when wet but relied on the system above for the defence.
The Judge found it was not necessary to determine whether this flaw in the system caused the accident because on balance he accepted the likely cause of the spillage was the actions of the claimant’s colleague in allowing water on the floor and that the defendant was vicariously liable for his actions.
He found 25 per cent contributory negligence for the claimant’s failing to look at the floor.
Package holiday cases
A girl was on a package holiday. A hotel door swung quickly back on her and she placed her hands up to stop and push it. Its glass panel smashed into her.
The case had to be brought under safety standards for Spain under the law for the Package Holiday regulations. A sample of the glass was retained by the claimant.
The glass was not safety glass but, while there were no local standards to insist on safety glass in doors, there was a Royal Decree in Spain stating that the opening mechanism on either a fire door or a door on an evacuation route must present the lowest possible risk to the user. The court accepted the evidence on behalf of the claimant that this was an evacuation route and inferred that, since the glass had smashed, then the door failed to meet the standard of the minimum risk.
Dewison -v- Luxuryclass Limited, 18 August 2005.
Dismissal reason no bar to PI claim
This was a settlement before trial in a case where a claimant had fallen from a ladder that slipped beneath him. The point to note is that the claimant was sacked after his accident by the employer who said the accident was due to his own gross misconduct in failing to follow safety standards.
His union represented him on his employment rights but he could not go to a tribunal for an unfair dismissal as he had no rights due to his short service.
In the personal injury action the defendants were forced to concede liability in full and never raised contributory negligence at all.