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Care Worker's Compensation Claim Upheld

A care worker who was injured when she slipped on ice has finally had her compensation claim upheld by the highest court in the land.

The woman was employed as a carer in Glasgow. It was part of her job to tend to sick and vulnerable clients in their own homes. At about 8:00pm, she was on her way to visit an elderly lady who was terminally ill in order to provide her with palliative and personal care. A colleague drove the carer to the woman's house and parked her car close to a public footpath that led to the house.

There had been severe winter weather for some weeks and there was snow and ice lying on the ground. The footpath was on a slope and the carer slipped on a patch of ice and badly injured her wrist. She blamed her employer for the accident, claiming that she should have been issued with specialist protective footwear, but her claim was rejected following two hearings before the Scottish courts.

Undeterred, she took her case to the Supreme Court. In allowing her appeal, the Court found that her employer had been negligent and had breached the statutory duties it owed her. The risk posed by snow and ice was obvious and known to her employer. Given a history of previous similar accidents, a prudent employer would have provided the woman and other members of its staff with anti-slip attachments to their shoes.

Employers have a duty to make sure that risk assessments cover any reasonably foreseeable risks faced by employees, which includes those faced by peripatetic workers. The need to carry out important work such as this in icy conditions exposes employees to obvious risks.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.