Lawyer’s Warning Over Pedestrian And Public Safety

‘Token Safety Measures Never Enough’ After Woman Left Injured By Wet Decking

05.07.2011

A leading Scottish injury lawyer has reminded businesses of their duty to protect members of the public and take health and safety seriously after a woman sustained serious shoulder injuries when slipping on wet decking outside a shop.

Elaine Russell, partner and personal injury expert at Irwin Mitchell, says lives could be at risk if employers attempt to pick and choose which safety laws they obey.

The warning came after Nicola Eccleson, a Glasgow woman who sustained severe muscular damage to her shoulder and elbow when she slipped whilst walking on some wooden decking on the way into Peppers Café and Takeaway, a basement-level shop on Berkeley Street, in October 2008.

Mrs Eccleson turned to Irwin Mitchell to help her with a successful legal claim for damages against the shop, which has settled for an undisclosed amount.

Elaine Russell said it was fortunate that Mrs Eccleson’s injuries were not more severe and welcomed improvements to safety at the shop.

She said: “She had just descended the metal staircase and, had she slipped closer to that, it could have been much worse. Thankfully she has been able to make a full recovery, but she was in a great deal of pain for some time.

“The shop knew the area was hazardous but had simply put a warning sign at the far end of the wooden decking – which you had to cross before you could read the warning. It goes almost without saying that token safety measures like this are never enough and it is imperative that businesses who deal with members of the public ensure they create a safe environment for their customers.

“The shop’s owners very quickly put non-slip surfacing down, but it was too late for Mrs Eccleson. Whilst we applaud the employer for taking such rapid action to remedy the problem and improve safety for other customers, it is frequently the case that someone has to get injured before improvements are made.”

Mrs Eccleson said: “It all happened very quickly – it had been raining so the surface was so slippery I couldn’t keep my feet. There were no warnings until you got to the shop but by then it was too late – and even if I’d been warned, I doubt there was much I could have done to stay upright.

“The pain in my shoulder and arm was excruciating – I sustained muscle damage and it took months to recover. To this day I can feel the effects of the injuries.”

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