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Anthony Davis v. University of Aberdeen, Sheriff J K Tierney, Aberdeen Sheriff Court, 25th February 2011


The pursuer was employed by the defenders as a porter. One of his duties involved delivering mail around the university. On the 6th January 2009 the pursuer slipped on ice on an ungritted on-campus path while carrying out his duties. He suffered injuries to his back and sued the defenders for breach of their obligation under paragraph 12(3) of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1922.
Parties' Submissions
The pursuer submitted that the defenders had failed to take reasonable care to discharge their duty under the Regulations. They had not considered other ways of gritting the area before the pursuer was required to walk on it, nor had they given consideration to keeping workers such as the pursuer away from the area until it was free from ice.

The defenders submitted that they had discharged their duty by implementing a considered schedule of works for dealing with ice on roads and footpaths. They had checked the weather and had provided for an early response. The pursuer was seeking to apply an impossibly high standard as conditions on the day were changing all the time.

The sheriff found for the pursuer and granted decree in the sum of £3,914. The defenders failed to discharge their duty under the Regulations to take reasonably practicable steps to keep the surface of the path free from ice. There was no evidence of any formal risk assessment associated with the schedule of works. The defenders knew that, under the schedule, the pursuer and other workers would have to use ungritted paths for some time before they were cleared. The defenders had not addressed the risk to workers of the known presence of ice on the path, nor had they considered keeping employees away from the path.