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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, Solicitor
Category: UK Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 38666
Experience:  Expert in UK Employment Law
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I am an employer who has used a polish chap on my hand car

Resolved Question:

I am an employer who has used a polish chap on my hand car wash,he works very very rarely for me,a matter of hours this year...he slipped on Saturday and now wants 25k off me
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: UK Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Before proceeding please note that as I am a practising solicitor, I am often in and out of meetings, travelling between clients or even at court when I pick your question up. This may even occur at weekends. Therefore, I apologise in advance but there may be a delay in getting back to you and providing my advice. Please be patient and I will respond as soon as I can. You do not have to wait here and you will receive an email when I have responded.

For now please let me know what your specific question is?

Customer:

hello sorry for the delay had a problem logging on,i am an employer and operate a hand car wash,a russian guy who i use very very rarely,slipped and fell ,and has spoken to some advocate,and reckons he can get 25k of me

Customer:

he slipped on a small circle metal plate on the ground,which had some water over it,i have signage warning against slips,and saying boots must be worn,and boots are available to be worn,but he would not put them on,and chose to wear his trainers

Customer:

he had to go to hospital but was discharged after 9 hours..he has a bump on the head,and a bump on his elbow,plus he says his back hurts

Customer:

i operate my hand car wash off a 24 hr bp petrol site..i do not rent the site i operate my car wash off rather pay the site owner a comission

Customer:

the guy was on training,and under the instruction of 2 of my employees who have been with me for 5 years

Customer:

he is on no contract,he is a guy who i call very rarely..and if he fancies a few hours work he agrees and comes in

Customer:

he came 3 days after the event,he looks fine,and was carrying a satchel with out any discomfort

Customer:

i have full insurance,how do i stand on all this

Customer:

this guy has a main job monday-friday..

Ben Jones :

Hello sorry I was offline by the time you had replied. Were you at fault in any way for the accident? Did you fail to follow any procedures, provide an unsafe working environment or fail to provide safety equipment?

Customer:

been googling as you do although,safety boots are provided,and h&s signage is displayed on site,regarding the wearing of safety boots and beware of slip hazards,it appears I am at fault because I did not follow through and ensure he wore boots other than his trainers.

Customer:

I have done a site risk assessment but did not pick up on this

Customer:

what I did miss was what caused the slip

Customer:

on the periphery of my hand car wash zone is a 8 inch circular metal plate,which covers a bore hole,that was drilled to check for possible ground petrol contamination

Customer:

the plate is slightly recessed,and does fill up with water,either rain or from car washing

Customer:

I assumed wrongly that as long as I provided safety footwear I was in compliance,

Customer:

the attention is now on the cause,which is this bore hole plate which is the petrol station..eg to make safe I cannot cover in concrete,or if I decide to do I will have to get permission of the petrol statation owner

Customer:

i am confused as to who the claim should be directed against

Customer:

my employer liability apparently covers me even though the guy had trainers on..ukgov states this

Ben Jones :

First of all you would need to consider whether you can be held responsible for the injuries suffered in this case. To prove liability on your part this person has to show that you were in some way negligent and that this negligence had resulted in these injuries. For example, if you operated an unsafe working environment, if you had not given appropriate training, if you had not provided appropriate safety clothing and equipment, and so on, then these could make you liable for any injuries suffered as a consequence.


 


Providing safety equipment is just part of your obligations in this matter. My main concern is the plate that you mentioned and whether it would be deemed to constitute an unsafe working environment. However, if this was documented, employees informed about it and appropriate warnings placed on or near it then your liability should be greatly reduced.


 


So, if you had made sure that everything is dealt with as required, and the injuries were suffered because of the employee's own actions and these actions were also in breach of the rules and procedures set by you in order to ensure a safe working environment, it is unlikely that you will be held responsible, or will have only limited responsibility.


 


Also the person cannot just claim compensation from you. It is your right to refuse that at this stage and if they really feel they have a case they would have to make a claim for personal injury against you, take you to court and convince the judge that they have a valid claim.

Customer:

over to you!

Customer:

i have been operating 10 years without a slip accident or any other incident,i am really strict on h&s but on this day i did not pick up on the fact he had trainers on..i dropped the ball,now i have a problem

Customer:

i am just going to let him make all the moves now regarding a claim which in this day and age unfortunately is un advoidable..but your take on it would be greatly appreciated

Ben Jones :

And just one question - did he know he was not supposed to wear trainers?

Ben Jones :

was this made clear to him?

Customer:

employer liability does cover me?

Customer:

i have complied with all safety clothing other than forcing him to wear boots provided

Customer:

his work description/work station was simply as a car dryer only

Customer:

absolutely yes,although he denies this,but all my staff wear boots,even if i get a guy in for a special 4 hour shift as a complete one off,i make them put boots on..no boots no work...even my partner wears rigger boots when on wash duties

Customer:

i am always going on about boots,and if they wear teir own they have to be black!

Ben Jones :

if you have provided him with boots and told him they must be worn then his refusal to do so would create a significant

Ben Jones :

significant contributory negligence on his part

Ben Jones :

Also the money he is after is extortionate for someone who has only bumped his head and appears to be in general good health even after the incident

Customer:

i have a 4ft x 5ft health and safety board on site...amongst everything else is states safety boots miust be worn,and beware of slip hazards

Customer:

anything else that comes to mind that you can advise....

Ben Jones :

To me it looks like an opportunistic attempt to get some money out of you without going to court and he may find it difficult to convince a court of he goes that far that this was due to your negligence

Customer:

if he claims against me,surely my compulsory employer liability will kick in,on uk gov it says they cannot refuse to meet a claimants compensation claim on the fact the guy was wearing trainers

Ben Jones :

yes most likely it will but I cannot advise with certainty as its terms will also be relevant

Ben Jones :

your insurer will be able to say with more certainty

Customer:

noted,so if he puts a claim to me personally do i just direct it to my employer liability insurers

Ben Jones :

that would be the first step, they will evaluate it and see if it is covered under their policy

Customer:

and if for some reason,they failed to pay out for whatever reason,then his next recourse is to go for me , i understand

Ben Jones :

or for you to challenge their refusal to pay, but that is a separate issue

Customer:

it sounds from our brief chat that all is not lost even if it went to court

Ben Jones :

Not at all, there is a long way to go before he can even think of getting any compensation

Customer:

lastly my concern is your concern ,that little 8 inch plate..it has never been an issue,in fact there are cover plates all over my wash,as you would expect with a petrol station,no one has ever slipped on them,even in the heavy soapy areas,or in deep icey winter,and as such i have not marked them ...this is so small i never classed it as a slip risk area....mind you the reason no slips have occurred is because everyone wears boots with grip

Customer:

ok if you have a last thought this is a good time to wrap up

Ben Jones : This will come down to a risk assessment but you did require him to wear boots and it was his decision not to, that is relevant
Customer:

Ok Thank you very much for your help tonight.

Ben Jones :

you are welcome

Ben Jones, Solicitor
Satisfied Customers: 38666
Experience: Expert in UK Employment Law
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