Employer’s duty to home carer travelling between clients
In December 2010, a carer had been required to visit an elderly lady. She had travelled to her house after visiting another client. The footpath leading to the house was covered in fresh snow, overlying ice. It had not been gritted or salted. After taking a few steps along the footpath the carer slipped and fell to the ground, injuring her wrist.
The Court ruled that it was clear that the carer was exposed to a risk to her health and safety whilst she was at work, namely the risk of slipping and falling on snow and ice while travelling between clients’ houses. That risk was obvious as a matter of common sense, and was in any event within the care provider’s knowledge, given their previous experience of home carers suffering such accidents.
As the risk of slipping could not be avoided, it should have been evaluated and addressed in accordance with health and safety regulations and individual protective measures (such as adequate footwear) should have been provided and also appropriate instructions should have been given to the carer.
Simon Wright, solicitor and head of Personal Injury at Banner Jones Solicitors said, “Employers must consider the health and safety and working conditions of their employees through the whole period that they are at work, not just when they are in the employer’s premises on in the premises of clients”.
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