Slipping On Ice Accidents

It is that time of the year again when there is a risk of suffering an accident caused by slipping on ice on footpaths, steps, car parks and roads.

People can unfortunately suffer permanent injuries to their wrists, backs, hips or ankles caused by falling awkwardly due to slipping on ice.

Good housekeeping is the most important way of preventing accidents caused by slipping on ice. A business owner or manager of a shop or workplace should have a winter safety programme that will have an action plan for dealing with winter hazards such as snow and ice.

The Occupiersa�� Liability Act 1957 places a legal duty on the owners of a shop or business premises to take care to see that visitors will be reasonably safe. The law does not require the owner of a shop or business premises to guarantee the safety of people visiting the premises, however the owner is expected to take reasonable steps to provide safe premises.

Therefore, the shop or business ownera��s winter safety programme should ensure that a person is given the task of being the a�?weather monitor,a�? paying attention to the weather forecasts and checking for snow or ice forecasts. The shop or business premises will then be ready to deal with snow removal and have in place an ice melt programme when adverse weather conditions occur.

People will be able to make personal injury compensation claims against the shop or business premises if they suffer an accident due to slipping on ice because the shop failed to have safety measures to prevent customers suffering slipping accidents.

If a person who works in the shop or business premises suffers an accident caused by slipping on ice, they will also be able to make a compensation claim unless the business owner can show that it was not reasonably practicable to keep the place where the accident happened free from ice.

An example of this is the compensation claim of Mr Stephen McKeown who worked as a school janitor for the council. Mr McKeown slipped on an ice covered step outside a school classroom and fell sustaining injury to his lower back. The court decided that the council was liable to pay compensation to Mr McKeown because although the council had a safety programme for dealing with snow and ice at the school, it had failed to properly implement the safety measures. The court said that the council had failed to put into action its safety measures and, for instance, the employees who had to carry out the work of spreading rock salt in the school yard had not actually been given any training or instructions in carrying out the safety action.

The Court of Sessiona��s decision in Stephen McKeown v Inverclyde Council