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A Glasgow home carer has won a ruling at the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom which could help others who have acquired injuries at work.
On the 10th of February 2016, the Supreme Court made a unanimous decision in favour of Tracey Kennedy.
Miss Kennedy worked for Cordia (Services) LLP as a home carer. During hazardous winter conditions in December 2010, she slipped on ice and injured her wrist whilst visiting a terminally ill client whom she provided care services for. Miss Kennedy was not supplied with suitable footwear by her employer, nor was she given advice on what she should wear to avoid slipping on ice.
The case was originally heard in the Outer House of the Court of Session where Lord McEwan stated that Miss Kennedy was entitled to damages as Cordia had not supplied her with proper footwear. Conversely, this decision was later overturned on appeal to the Inner House of the Court of Session.
However, the original judgement of Lord McEwan has now been upheld unanimously by a 5-0 decision. Credit has to be given to Miss Kennedy’s legal team, Digby Brown Solicitors, who argued that under the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992, Cordia owed Miss Kennedy a duty of care. They had a duty to ensure that their staff are provided with suitable equipment to prevent the risk of their staff slipping on ice. The Supreme Court found that Cordia knew of the risks posed by ice as these had previously been identified in earlier assessments. The failure to provide suitable footwear and the lack of sufficient risk assessment were a breach of safety regulations and Cordia owed Miss Kennedy a duty of care. Therefore, Miss Kennedy was entitled to damages.
Digby Brown Solicitors have stated that this case is a “landmark judgement which will not only help protect individuals working for the benefit of others in testing conditions across the country, but which further reinforces the need for employers to proactively assess the risks faced by workers when at work, and to introduce reasonable measures to avoid or otherwise reduce that risk.” They welcomed this decision by the Supreme Court as no individual should be subjected to any risk of injury which could easily be prevented by their employer. Digby Brown Solicitors also hope the decision of this case will improve health and safety standards for employees.
Disa Hunter, Herd Law.
Thursday 11th February 2016
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