I fell down on a wet stair in an office that had just been mopped. Will I be entitled to claim compensation for a badly sprained ankle?
You should be entitled to claim compensation for having fell down on a wet stair in an office, provided the accident involved a failure in a duty of care and negligence of your employer. It is also possible to make a claim for a slip and fall on a stair in an office if the accident was caused by negligence of contract cleaning staff.
Your employer has a legal responsibility to ensure the workplace is kept ‘reasonably’ safe and free from hazards which could cause an employee to slip and fall. This responsibility applies not only to slip and trip hazards such as uneven floors and obstacles left in thoroughfares, but also the creation of temporary hazards such as wet floors.
Due to the danger of a fall on wet stairs at work, and the potential for highly serious injuries to be sustained, an employer should made sure the cleaning staff were instructed to avoid wet cleaning whenever possible, and to use dry cleaning instead. If wet mopping was necessary and unavoidable under the circumstances, this should have been scheduled for a time of the day (or night) when there was likely to be little or no traffic. If this was impractical, the stairs should have been mopped in sections and cordoned off until they were completely dry, or a wet floor warning sign used to alert workers to the risk of a slip and fall on wet stairs at work.
If your employer did not instruct the cleaners to only wet mop the floors at a time when the risk to the staff was low, this could be classed as negligence and a failure in a duty of care. If a cleaner ignored instructions provided by your employer, this would still be classed as negligence and a claim would still need to be made against your employer’s liability insurance policy. Your employer is ultimately responsible for the actions of the staff, although in the case of contract cleaners, a claim for a slip and fall on a stair in an office may need to be made against the cleaning company’s insurance policy.
Once your sprained ankle has been treated by a doctor you should ensure the accident is recorded in your employer’s accident book. You should briefly explain how you came to fall on wet stairs at work, the location of the hazard and any other members of staff who were present at the time. Your employer is obliged to report the accident to the HSA if you were off work due to your injury for three consecutive days or more, and you should check that this procedure has been completed.
You should also seek legal advice from a personal injury solicitor about claiming compensation for having fell down on a wet stair in an office. A solicitor will assess your eligibility to make a claim, and you should be given an indication of the damages which can be recovered. You will also be advised about the claim process and any further actions which must be taken before a claim can be commenced.