The Importance Of Proper Cleaning Schedules And Actively Following Them
Posted on 25th March 2020
One of the topics our Preston solicitors are being drawn into at the moment is, quite understandably, the Coronavirus. The unavoidable topic of the moment, Coronavirus, has led to an article by the Law Gazette criticising the state of many toilets in Judicial buildings of all types, from County Courts to Prisons. The current criticism is that with the increases risk of illness the toilets are, if anything, in a worse state than usual.
The current situation notwithstanding, it does bring to light an issue that is only too common and which often is the root cause of many slipping accidents in areas open to the public and following which MG Legal, your personal injury solicitor in Longridge, is often instructed to pursue a claim for personal injury. A Public Liability Claim is, generally, defined as being one which occurs and is not a Road Traffic Accident or an Accident at Work.
How is a cleaning schedule relevant to a Personal Injury claim?
A slipping incident is, most commonly, caused by a person slipping on either a spillage or a ‘wet’ hazard that requires cleaning. The two that immediately spring to mind are spillages of broken or leaking items from supermarket shelves and of toilets where leaks and spillages are not mopped up.
Any building that opens for access to the Public has a duty to take reasonable steps to protect their visitors, and this includes keeping them safe from personal injury from noxious substances, and yes, you’ve guessed it, disease. This is generally described under the Occupiers Liability Act 1957 and generally speaking a venue has to assess their daily footfall and implement an inspection and cleaning schedule or plan proportionate to the number of visitors they expect. Visitors can be shoppers in the case of supermarkets, for example or for a theatre, their visitors will be spectators of the production on that day.
Roughly speaking, for a busy supermarket, they will be expected to have a dedicated inspection perhaps once per hour and generally it is considered sensible for staff to be trained in “clean as you go” policies, where any loose packaging is immediately removed, spills are covered with “wet floor” signs and then cleaned up as quickly as possible. If this is not done, or if it cannot be shown to be done, there is a strong chance that if you are injured as a result of a slipping incident, you can make a Personal Injury Claim.
How do I know if there is a proper cleaning schedule?
Put simply, it is often difficult to tell as many cleaning schedules are kept in the “staff only” areas of the premises. Although, quite often, as a measure of giving confidence in the cleanliness of their toilets, many companies will display the toilet cleaning schedule on the door and each time they are inspected and/or cleaned, the staff member will sign the schedule.
Apart from those occasions, it is usually necessary to present a claim and as part of any response to the claim, the fault party will produce their training, inspection and cleaning records. MG Legal, your personal injury solicitor in Longridge, have a wealth of experience in reviewing this type of record and identifying any failings, inconsistencies and weaknesses in the process. Rest assured, our personal injury solicitors have attended many a supermarket, cinema and place of work where a client has been injured.
How do I know if the schedule has been followed?
To some degree, it is a matter of trust and if the schedule is signed, it is generally accepted that it has been followed. Should there be any indication this is not the case, there are ways of identifying this, although this is something that can be addressed on a case-by-case basis. If there is no signature in the relevant box, meaning the cleaning schedule has not been followed, or if the cleaning schedule is insufficient, then usually there is a strong chance of being successful in your claim.
Can I do anything to help with my claim following the incident?
Definitely. Evidence is the key. Any personal injury solicitor will tell you, if you have suffered a slipping incident, provided you are able to do so, we recommend that you photograph the area where you fell as this can often give an idea of how long a leak or spill has been present. Any photographs of cleaning schedules are also most useful as this shows the last time the area was cleaned. Again, provided you do not need urgent medical assistance, we strongly recommend that you report the incident to the nearest staff member and complete a full accident report form, ensuring it is fully accurate before you sign it. Also ask for any CCTV to be provided or obtain assurances it is to be retained, ideally as long a sample of CCTV footage as possible.
MG Legal, your personal injury solicitor in Longridge, recently succeeded in a Trial against a well-known nationwide clothes retailer where the content of the CCTV footage was key and so, the more evidence you can obtain, the better.
Are there other factors apart from a cleaning schedule?
There are other factors and so, even if it appears there is a cleaning schedule and it has been immaculately followed, there are still other breaches of duty which can lead to slipping incidents. The most obvious is that even the best cleaning schedule is worthless if wet floor signs are not put down following discovery of a spill, after any wet mopping or near entrances and exits if the weather is wet. One recent case, that our team of personal injury solicitors in Garstang won, featured a statement made by an employee of said supermarket as follows: oh, did he forget to put the wet floor sign out, again?’. Our personal injury solicitors in Garstang, leaned heavily on this statement, leading to the supermarket’s insurers to capitulate, and award our client compensation for her injury.
How do I find out if I have a strong claim?
Contact one of MG Legal’s team of personal injury solicitors in Preston or Lancaster, to discuss the circumstances with one of our Personal Injury specialists. We have many years' experience in the Personal Injury claims field and we often achieve results in the face of strong opposition. All slipping incident personal injury claims we accept are handled on the basis of a Conditional Fee Agreement (no win, no fee agreement) to ensure there is no risk to you in pursuing a claim as a result of a genuine injury that was not your fault. We are not put off by an initial denial and we look into all aspects of the claim to ensure that you have the best possible chance of receiving compensation for your injuries and any other losses.
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