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PRESS INFORMATION - media enquiries to Sam Dabbs on 07711 672893

Owners of bars, restaurants and other premises where there are regular liquid spillages should check the suitability of their flooring following a court decision which gives them greater liability for personal injury claims, according to law firm DWF.

The warning follows the case of a worker in a care home who sued her employer after slipping on a pool of urine left by one of the residents. However DWF says the ruling could equally apply to the leisure and hospitality industry, where spillages of food and drink, or around sink and bathroom areas, mean floors are frequently wet.

Susan Ellis took her case against Bristol City Council to the Court of Appeal, where the argument centred on Regulation 12 of the Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulations 1992 which specifies that floors should be ‘suitable for the purpose’ for which they are used.

She argued that the vinyl floor was unsuitable because residents urinated on it frequently and it became slippery when wet. Previously the courts’ approach had been that the term ‘suitable for use’ applied to the construction of the floor itself and not to any hazards posed when liquids were spilled upon it.

However the Court of Appeal found that, since the problems were sufficiently regular and frequent, the floor should be regarded as being unsuitable from a health and safety viewpoint.

Dave Collins, principal safety consultant with DWF said: “Any organisation with premises where there are frequent spillages should now reconsider the suitability of the flooring in these areas. Where floors are regularly wet, this should be taken into account in the choice of materials to ensure they are safe to use in these circumstances.

“The courts now seem to be taking every available opportunity to reduce the scope of arguments which can be used by employers seeking to defend workplace claims and employers will need to be ever more cautious to protect their position.”


Notes to editors:

DWF is one of the fastest growing regional law firms in the UK and has recently merged with Ricksons. With over 820 people based in Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and Preston, DWF provides a range of services grouped under the following practice areas:

Banking & Finance
Business Recovery
Real Estate
Private Client

DWF has developed extensive sector-specific expertise in a number of areas including: automotive, education, food, retail & leisure, legal expenses and resourcing. Further information on DWF is available via

Media enquiries to:

Sam Dabbs, Dabbs PR & Marketing
T: 01939 210503 or 07711 672893

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