Accidents at work can be enormously damaging in a physical, mental and financial sense. It is of little surprise, therefore, that employers try to minimise both the likelihood of work accidents occurring and the severity of their consequences.
The biggest cause of work accidents
A classic example of workplace accidents to be avoided is slips and trips at work, something which is particularly prevalent in working environments such as pubs and restaurants. Statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show that slips and trips at work are responsible for over one third of all reported major injuries at work over the course of an average year and 20 per cent of injuries that require a lay-off of at least three days. Because of this, changes are often made to try and make the working environment safer and less prone to accidents. However, as this case study demonstrates, these changes are not always for the better.
Floor resurfaced after inspection
A visit from an Environmental Health Officer (EHO) to a large pub-restaurant resulted in questions being asked about the state of the kitchen floor, which the EHO noticed was unusually slippery. Conversations with staff confirmed that the surface was much less secure than the safety flooring it had replaced some months earlier.
Routine cleaning and a reduction in grease deposits through improved extract ventilation did little to alleviate the problem and the results of tests by the Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) made for concerning reading. When dry, the slip resistance of the floor was rated as borderline. When it was wet, this rating dropped to unsatisfactory. This was obviously not good enough for a working environment where some splashing is inevitable.
Despite attempts and experiments by management with different cleaning methods, the situation did not improve and the risk of accidents in the restaurant was still too high. Eventually, the owners had no choice but to replace the floor covering with a safer material, tested and approved by the HSL, for the second time in a matter of months. As the site was just one of a chain, the management were instructed to inspect the condition of the kitchens in other branches and make similar changes if necessary and review its own flooring specification standards.
Turn to us for expert help
If you suffer an accident at work, expert legal advice can be sought from Accident Advice Helpline. A law firm with over 15 years’ experience in injury claims, they usually settle out of court.
Date Published: February 13, 2014
Author: David Brown