Don’t fall for that

Don't fall for that

What are the responsibilities of managers, owners and employees regarding slip and fall incidents?

It’s impossible to rule out accidents in any industry. The risk of employees, management and even customers getting hurt is, unfortunately, sometimes inevitable. Things get worse, however, when lawsuits start to arise, and the question becomes: whose fault is this really?

In order for employers and employees to protect themselves, they need to be aware of what to do and what not to do when a slip and fall accident occurs.

According to the website, slip and fall cases are usually grouped under the broader category of cases known as “premises liability” claims. Slip and fall accidents usually occur on a property (or “premises”) owned or maintained by someone else, and the property owner may be held legally responsible.

For an owner to be held liable, it must have been foreseeable that his or her negligence would create the danger leading to the slip and fall incident

The manager’s responsibility

The responsibilities of the owner or manager regarding slip and fall accidents largely revolve around ensuring that the work-surface area is safe, all potential hazardous conditions are taken care of to prevent an injury from occurring, and that appropriate warning signs regarding a potentially dangerous area are placed where all employees and customers are able to see them clearly.

If a payout is required, according to the amount of money the liable party is required to pay is based on the damage to the injured person. This would include the cost of medical bills, loss of income (if they are unable to work due to the injury)as well as some compensation for pain and suffering.

Determining the amount of the injured person’s actual financial losses – medical bills and lost income – is easy, and just requires the cost of medical bills and time off work to be added together. The hard part is calculating an amount for pain and suffering.

The employee’s responsibility

The website adds that, in order for a person to be compensated for a slip and fall injury sustained on another’s property, there must be a responsible party whose negligence caused the injury. This sounds obvious, but many people do not realise that some injuries are simply accidents caused by their own carelessness.

Therefore, if an employee or customer feels that he or she is not in the wrong and deserves to be compensated, it’s their responsibility to contact a lawyer as soon as possible in order to establish who might be at fault.

Reaching new heights with rope access

With South Africa’s economy stagnating in recent months, many industrial companies are looking for cost-effective means of maintenance that will not interfere with their daily operations. Skyriders marketing manager, Mike Zinn, explains that rope access presents flexibility when working at heights.

“It allows for one to reach all sides of a big structure and quickly get the job done,” Zinn notes. “Operations will look for more cost-effective solutions for maintenance work. With rope access, the man on the rope is the man doing the work, which brings more benefit.”

For example, the company recently completed a maintenance project of a large coal silo at a power station in Mpumalanga. The silo, which houses 10 000 t of coal, needs to be cleaned at least once a year to prevent blockages. Rope access has proved to be the most cost effective and least time consuming way of inspection and maintenance, compared to traditional access systems.

“During the maintenance period, our technicians go inside the silo from the top, using rope access, and help get the coal loose and restore flow to the hoppers until it is completely empty. Then they can start loading the silo with new coal.”

The maintenance shutdown allowed the eight-man team to undertake its work during the day only.

Similarly, Skyriders was recently tasked with designing, supplying and installing six-metre-long aircraft warning-light masts onto a 212-metre-high smoke stack at a power station in Mpumalanga. The masts were designed for the relatively harsh environment of the power station; where wind loading and various other factors had to be taken into consideration. With the help of RedPro, a designer and manufacturer of engineering products across a wide variety of industries, Skyriders was able to replace the light masts used at the power station.

According to Zinn, there is currently a steady uptake for rope access services in South Africa that allows working at heights to be done efficiently, while saving money.

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SHEQ Management

SHEQ MANAGEMENT is the definitive source for reliable, accurate and pertinent information to guarantee environmental health and safety in the workplace.
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