A recent case law decision has given a reminder that employers are responsible for assessing any risks to staff and taking action to prevent them happening. This includes the duty to provide protective equipment.
Ms Kennedy was a home carer. During the terrible winter of 2010, on a cold, snowy day, she slipped and fell on the icy, sloping path leading to a client’s house, and was injured.
The Court of Session ruled, in Tracey Kennedy v Cordia (Services) LLP, that the employer had failed in their duty to provide protective equipment in accordance with The Personal Protection Equipment at Work Regulations 1992, and failed to carry out an adequate risk assessment in accordance with the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
The court found the employer liable under both sets of Regulations and also at fault under common law:
- They failed to provided safe footwear and there is no evidence they checked what was being worn.
- There was also no evidence of a staff reporting system if they encountered extreme weather (and were having to walk on snow and ice).
As we approach the winter again it is worth employers considering how they might avoid a similar situation arising. How are you going to avoid staff being injured, and also reduce the likelihood of any claims against the employer?
Contact the GCVS Employers’ Advice Service for further advice on 0141 354 6515.