HM Insights

Accident at work: fall on ice highlights duty on employers to keep their staff free from harm

A recent case highlights the need for employers to ensure that all necessary precautions and procedures are in place to keep their employees free from harm during the course of their employment.

Our specialist Accident at Work team secured an admission of fault following our client suffering a fall on ice when she was visiting a housebound patient within the course of her employment.

Personal Injury Employee Duty Of Care Employer Accident At Work Slip On Ice Fall Compensation

How did the accident happen?

Our client was visiting a housebound patient around 7pm on a November night when the weather conditions were cold and icy. The critical fact that allowed us to establish fault was that a member of staff, who had previously visited the patient, had reported that the approach to the patient's door was hazardous and slippery due to ice. Furthermore, the employers were advised that the housebound patient was unable to turn on the exterior light at the rear of their house. Our client slipped on ice and landed heavily sustaining significant injury to her right shoulder.

What injuries did the client suffer?

Our client was off work due to the extent of her injuries for a period of approximately six months. Following her phased return to work she was on limited duties. The injuries she suffered had a major impact on her quality of life.

Injured within the course of employment- what is the legal position?

In terms of the relationship that exists between employer and employee there is a legal obligation incumbent upon employers to take reasonable care of their employees and keep them safe from harm during the course of their employment.

In this case, the lack of action taken by the employers following the report of ice at the housebound patient's house amounted to negligence. Our client's employers required to take reasonable care of our client and to ensure that access to and from the patient's house was free from hazardous conditions, such as ice. In practical terms they should have acted upon the feedback from the employee who had reported that there was a lack of light and there was ice prior to our client attending at the patient's house. This failure to act amounted to negligence.


In order for a client to be able to recover damages for injury we have to establish that there was negligence and, as a result of that negligence, there was loss suffered. In relation to the facts of this case, it was reasonably foreseeable that icy conditions and inadequate lighting would create a hazard to those entering and exiting the patient's home and on that basis compensation would be paid out to our client.

The claims process

In terms of the Scottish mandatory Pre- Action Protocol it is necessary for us to set out the basis for our client's claim to the employers. We did this and the employers then undertook investigations in relation to how and why the accident happened and considered the breaches of duties of care we alleged they failed to meet.

Following this investigation the employers have indicated that they accept fault for this accident and we are now in a position to move forward with our client's case in a positive way. This will involve exhibiting medical evidence and evidence outlining losses suffered by our client to the employers.

Specialist Solicitors - Get in touch

Our Personal Injury team are experienced in representing those injured and the families of those who lose loved ones in workplace accidents. We will give first class legal representation, support and care to an injured person and families of those injured in Scotland.

Get in touch now for a free chat. Call us free on 0800 904 7777 or find out more information about the personal injury service we provide.