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September 12, 2011

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Supermarket giant failed to address slip risks

Morrisons Supermarkets has been fined £17,500 after a worker fractured her elbow when she slipped at a store in Ipswich.

In June 2008, an environmental health officer from Ipswich Borough Council made a routine visit to a Morrisons store in Sproughton Road. She warned the store’s management about a potential slip hazard behind one of the food counters, where smooth terrazzo tiles had been installed.

The tiles are highly polished and smooth and become extremely slippery when oil or grease is split on them. The store’s risk assessment had identified the issue but had failed to introduce any control measures. The EHO recommended that the company either provide workers with protective footwear, or add a resin coating to the floor to increase slip resistance.

On 4 December 2008, an employee at the store slipped on some tiles, which were positioned behind a counter in the oven-fresh area, after there was a spillage of grease. She suffered a serious fracture to her right elbow and had to undergo three operations to repair the damage. She was unable to return to work for seven months and still suffers constant pain in her elbow.

As part of the investigation into the incident the council worked with experts from the Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) to measure the slip resistance of the tiles. The results showed that there was a high risk of slips when the floor was contaminated with water, or oil.€

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Altea69
Altea69
10 years ago

This is one of the myths which has never really stood up to much scrutiny. It’s the micro-roughness of the floor which is important and there are plenty of options on the market which provide adequate slip resistance whilst still being able to be effectively cleaned.

As with many things it comes down to the design stage – specs are set on what looks good with little thought about what is going to be happening on any given surface. Motor dealerships are notorious for this too.

Bob
Bob
10 years ago

Would the EHO have approved non-slip floor tiles on hygiene grounds? There is a problem for many food premises to balance the often conflicting requirements.

Colin
Colin
10 years ago

There are cleanable flooring materials designed for use in kitchen areas. Yes Terrazzo looks good, but I just wonder who suggested or authorised the use of a highly polished surface in a Food area!?! It seems no consideration was given to the high potential for slips. Whatever happened to fit for purpose? Ellis v Bristol City identifies that if a floor is slippery when wet, it is not suitable for purpose. Morrisons should have known better. What’s £50K? to them.

David
David
10 years ago

A total of just over £50,000 fine is ridiculous. What effect is that going to have on a supermarket chain like Morrisons? So much for fines being linked to turnover and the big crackdown on companies that fail to act on previous warnings.
This was a clear case of negligence on the part of Morrisons and a staff member suffered a serious injury as a result yet the fine is only a fraction of what the store would take in a day, I don’t get it at all??????????

Edward
Edward
10 years ago

If the council EHO gave the store a warning, wither verbal or written, then gave them a recommendation to provide control measures, this should have been followed up by the EHO concerned.

Elloboda
Elloboda
10 years ago

is it me or are morrisons getting a great deal on floor tiles that should not be laid in these area,s surely if they have been told on more than once action should be taken. it,s not hard for a memo to go out to all sites who are under any floor construction that these tiles should not be fitted period. but as we have read it takes a worker going about here days work to have an accident that will affect her for a long time to come slipping is a hazzard that can take time to get over… Read more »

Hosam_Msaad
Hosam_Msaad
10 years ago

if a huge supermarket doesnot seriously consider and control an obvious risk like ” falling due to slippery floors”, so what kind of risk assessments do they have in there?!

or maybe the risk is only taken care of when it could involve customers and not staff?!!

Markcosford005
Markcosford005
10 years ago

I used to work for morrisons senior team in stote and now work in health and safety.
I never once saw a risk assessment being carrried out in any of the stores I worked in.
I have never seen evidence of them in management offices as having been carried out.
£50k is about 2 hours takings on a good day and one sunday on a slow day for the average store.

Pike
Pike
10 years ago

Bob, I’v ecome accross similar at different times in different industries.
Slaughtermen wearing scabbards to sheath sharp knives rather than walking around with a knife in hand against EHO not liking this on hygiene grounds.
Construction Clerk of Works trying to insist on men going into deep trenches to clean out prior to concreting.

In both cases the official gets told to get lost. This EHO’s initial recommendations were correct though she should have issued a notice right away and followed u

Ray
Ray
10 years ago

Clearly it would have been better if the EHO on the first visit had issued an Improvement Notice, or at least checked later to see if their advice had been heeded. So often it is a case of the horse has bolted.

Whether it was in the ‘public interest’ to prosecute Morrisons is another matter. They were never going to be fined a huge amount for what was really an oversight. The fine and cost of the prosecution would have been better spent giving it to the IP or even charity – not impressed.