Janitor Awarded Compensation for a Slip on Ice at School

A janitor has been awarded compensation for a slip on ice at school – the injuries from which resulted in him losing his job.

In November 2010, Stephen McKeown from Port Glasgow in Inverclyde worked as a janitor at St Stephen´s High School in Port Glasgow. One week, he was asked to cover for the permanent janitor at the nearby  at St Francis´ Primary School, and he arrived on the Monday morning at 7.00am to start clearing ice which had formed overnight from the paths to the classrooms and the playground.

From 9.00am onwards, sixty-one year old Stephen salted by hand the areas of lower priority – such as the school´s parking lot – but, during the first lesson break, two pupils drew his attention to a condom at the top of one of the fire escapes leading to the classrooms. As he climbed the steps of the fire escape, Stephen slipped on the icy stairs and fell against a wall – damaging his back and suffering a leg injury.

Unable to maintain his janitor duties, Stephen´s work contract was terminated by Inverclyde Council – following which, Stephen claimed compensation for a slip on ice at school with the assistance of a lawyer. Inverclyde Council denied their liability for his injuries and the case went to the Outer House of the Court of Session, where it was heard by Lord Burns.

After hearing evidence from both parties, Lord Burns found in Stephen´s favour; for although the council had a system of work in place which could have prevented Stephen from suffering his injuries, it was never implemented – nor was Stephen ever provided with the tools which would have made jobs such as spreading salt on icy days safer and more effective.

Lord Burns awarded Stephen £30,000 compensation for a slip on ice at school, finding that Inverclyde Council had been in breach of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.


Claim for Assault Course Accident Resolved at the High Court

A claim for an assault course accident, in which a Hampshire scout leader fractured a vertebra in his back, has been resolved in the High Court for £167,514.

Robert Wilson (49) from Bordon in Hampshire made his claim for assault course accident compensation after sustaining an injury while leading his scout troop on the Challenge Valley assault course at the Clyne Farm Centre near Swansea in August 2009.

To get down from the “Burma Bridge” obstacle, Robert was required to descend a fireman´s pole despite voicing concerns for his safety in the wet conditions. His worries were justified, as he landed awkwardly at the base of the pole and fractured a vertebra in the base of his spine.

Robert was taken by helicopter to hospital where he underwent surgery. But, as Mrs Justice Swift heard at the High Court in London, his injury prevented him from driving his taxi or caring for his wheelchair-bound wife and four-year-old son.

After seeking legal advice, Robert made a claim for assault course accident compensation on the grounds that he had not been given proper instruction on how to safely descend the fireman´s pole and that the landing cushion had been compacted by the previous participants on the assault course.

Clyne Farm Centre denied their liability for Robert´s injuries, and alleged that Robert had removed his hand from the pole to “show off” to his scout troop. It was also claimed that a ladder was situated nearby in case a participant did not want to depart the “Burma Bridge” obstacle via the fireman´s pole.

After hearing evidence from both Robert and the instructor who was with him when the accident occurred, Mrs Justice Swift found in Robert´s favour and rejected claims made by the Clyne Farm Centre that “[Robert] was the author of his own misfortune”.

Awarding Robert £167,514 compensation in settlement of his claim for assault course accident, Mrs Justice Swift said she had no doubt that Robert “is a genuine hard-working man” who had devoted himself to the care of his wife and their four-year-old son.