Irwin Mitchell Warns Employers About On Skiing And Snowboarding Dangers

Law Firm Calls On Businesses To Be Fully Prepared


David Shirt, Press Officer | 0161 838 3094

UK companies have not kept pace with the growth in popularity of winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding and are not prepared for the risks associated with their employees taking to the slopes, says national law firm, Irwin Mitchell.
As the skiing season gets into full swing and an increasing number of firms plan corporate trips with staff and clients, Irwin Mitchell is warning companies to take steps to ensure that their business is fully protected as a result of serious injuries to staff.
One of the key areas businesses need to look at is whether they have suitable insurance in place in case key personnel are injured during a skiing holiday. 
Key Person insurance policies cover a wide range of eventualities, but with skiing being popular amongst chief executives and amongst people in other high profile corporate roles, Irwin Mitchell believes many companies do not have any safeguards in place if a senior member of the business lost their life or suffered a serious injury.
The firm also warns that companies must have clear policies in place to manage holiday absences if staff are delayed from returning from the slopes or are injured.
Fergal Dowling, Employment Partner at national law firm Irwin Mitchell, said:

Expert Opinion
Almost a million people in the UK go skiing each year and the signs are that the numbers will keep rising. It is widely known to be one of the most dangerous sports, however businesses haven’t kept pace with the growth in popularity and as a result are not protected against all the risks. Staff absence can, for example, be an issue if people injure themselves and as more and more people gear up for a holiday on the slopes, now could be a time for a business to review its policies in this area and ensure that they are clearly communicated to staff."
Fergal Dowling, Partner

Commenting also on the growing popularity of corporate skiing trips, Fergal added:

Expert Opinion
If a company is organising a company trip, it is important that they have the appropriate liability insurance for injury on the slope or injury in the chalet. This protects the business against legal claims for accidental injury to staff and attendees and for damage to the venue. Generally, staff have a duty to protect their own health and will only be able to sue for any injury they sustain if the company organising the trip has been negligent. This might arise, for example, if a manager ‘encourages’ a novice skier to go off piste.

“Similarly, a business might be sued by the owners of the accommodation if employees cause damage because they are drunk or careless. Public liability insurance will help you to foot the bill.

“It is also vital that the company sets clear boundaries about how people should behave, especially in the age of social media. Staff are likely to want to take photos and videos of their escapades on and off the slopes, however, careless or inappropriate posts can cause reputational damage to an organisation’s brand or to the personal business relationships it relies upon.

“Make sure that your staff know what they can share by way of social media, particularly if their profiles link them to your business or they have ‘friends’ who are also business clients or contacts.”
Fergal Dowling, Partner