My employer told me that I cannot claim compensation for an injury from slipping on grease spilled on the floor, as he is not responsible for spills caused by careless workers. Is this correct?

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

From your question it would appear that your employer is trying to discourage a claim for compensation for slipping on grease spilled on the floor in a factory from being made, or your employer is misinformed about his liabilities for accidents involving employees in the workplace.

The majority of employers would not try to deny a genuine accident victim from recovering compensation for an injury from slipping on grease spilled on the floor; however since a claim for factory slip injury compensation by an employee may have financial implications for an employer, an attempt may be made to discourage a claim from being made against their employee liability insurance policy. In Ireland, the excess on an insurance policy can be high and there are often increases in insurance premiums after a claim for compensation has been made against an insurance policy.

In some cases, employers tell staff that claims are not possible due to being unaware of their responsibilities under health and safety legislation. For both of these reasons it is important that your claim for an injury from slipping on grease spilled on the floor in a factory is assessed by an experienced independent personal injury solicitor. Only after the circumstances which caused the accident have been assessed can your eligibility to make a claim for a slip on grease spilled on the floor in a factory be confirmed.

Under Irish health and safety legislation, an employer must reduce risks in the workplace to the minimum practical level and must not place employees at an excessive risk of injury. An employer must make sure that the staff receive appropriate training and control measures are in place to keep injury risks to a minimum level. However an employer is also responsible for the actions of the staff, and if a member of staff is careless and causes an accident resulting in an injury to another worker, it is ultimately your employer who will be liable to pay compensation for a slip on grease spilled on the floor in a factory. Provided that the accident can be attributed to negligence of a colleague, and therefore negligence of your employer, you should be entitled to claim compensation for an injury from slipping on grease spilled on the floor.

However, if the spilled grease was your fault, or if any ‘reasonably attentive person’ would have been expected to see the grease and take action to avoid it, a claim for compensation may not be possible.