Those who have been injured as a result of a slip, trip or fall in a supermarket within the last three years may be able to make a personal injury compensation claim, provided it was not the fault of the person concerned and that the injuries suffered were as a result of the accident in the supermarket. All stores have a duty of care towards their customers as well as their employees to ensure that staff can work and the general public can shop, in a safe environment without risk.
Supermarket owners have a duty under the Occupiers Liability Act 1957 to take all reasonable steps to see that the premises are reasonably safe for the purpose for which those entering the shop are invited to do so. That “common duty of care” extends to all those who are either invited or allowed into the shop for whatever purpose, so it extends, not only to shoppers, but also to those delivering goods and even those entering the shop just for a second to ask directions.
The supermarket only has to do what is reasonable in the circumstances, so they cannot be expected to ensure that no risk exists at all, only that they have done all that they can reasonably do in the circumstances to seek to make their customers safe. What the law sees as reasonable can depend on a number of factors but if the store concerned has regular inspections and risk assessment and that staff all know the procedure relating to health and safety in the workplace and that affected areas are cleaned as soon as they become aware of a problem, it is unlikely that the supermarket will be held liable.
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Other legislation includes, principally the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, which requires employers to ensure the health and safety of their workers and anybody else who may be affected by their work. It forces employers to take whatever steps are necessary to control the risks of slips, trips and falls and also, in respect of employees, says that they must be responsible themselves in that they should not put themselves or others into danger.
The law relating to the state of floors is that they must not be slippery so as to put people’s safety at risk. This is according to The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, while the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 builds on the 1974 act and includes duties on employers to assess risks and take whatever action necessary to safeguard health and safety.