Mrs Howard was involved in an accident at work on the 3rd September 2009 whilst working for Marks & Spencer’s at their Gemini store, sustaining significant injuries. The accident occurred in the staff canteen whilst on her break and as she walked across lino that had just been mopped. The matter was denied by Marks and Spencer’s and during court proceedings the cleaning company was also brought in as a Second Defendant. The case was eventually listed for a split trial on liability (70/30) and significant evidence was disclosed by the Defendants in support of their denial. The case proceeded to a 3 day trial with 8 witnesses giving evidence at trial.
Mrs Howard’s case succeeded. In summing up the Judge held that the canteen could simply have been closed for a short period, at quieter times during staff shifts, whilst the cleaning took place and thereby ensuring that staff were not at risk. This was a procedure they already had in place for their customer café/restaurants. More significantly, no contributory negligence was attached to Mrs Howard, even though the Judge accepted there were yellow warning signs out, as there was no safely marked route out of the canteen’s 2 exits.
The case continues in respect of the value of the claim.