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RayRapp  
#1 Posted : 12 December 2017 08:10:54(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
RayRapp

Had an interesting conversation today with a friend who is a postman asking me how far an employer's duty of care extends in the context of a hazardous task i.e. delivering letters in icy conditions. Not easy to explain to a layman in short conversation.

I thought afterwards about all the school closures which have been in the news on 'health and safety' grounds. Yet, it is expected that postmen still go out and deliver letters and parcels on treacherous roads and pavements.  

Bill6152  
#2 Posted : 12 December 2017 09:00:00(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Bill6152

Similar questions being asked where I am. We have on average 1000 vans per day with drivers delivering products to shops on most high streets and with the level of snow and ice when does it become too risky to carry this on? I know the answer from the business that we won’t stop operations as for too big a commercial impact, so ultimately a decision based on risk/finances. We know when the snow and ice appear we have big increase in slipping accidents and almost accept its going to happen 

Roundtuit  
#3 Posted : 12 December 2017 09:05:08(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

If  it is unsafe to travel due to snow and ice where does that leave councils & the highways agency who put gritter drivers/teams out and about in similar conditions?

Schools are more of a numbers game (x teachers for y pupils) have enough missing staff then supervision & safe guarding rather than the actual weather becomes the issue unlike a long, long time ago..... in a town not too far away.... the school I attended only closed for weather issues if the heating boiler had broken down and was unliklely to be repaired.

hilary  
#4 Posted : 12 December 2017 11:11:30(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
hilary

Originally Posted by: Roundtuit Go to Quoted Post

If  it is unsafe to travel due to snow and ice where does that leave councils & the highways agency who put gritter drivers/teams out and about in similar conditions?

Schools are more of a numbers game (x teachers for y pupils) have enough missing staff then supervision & safe guarding rather than the actual weather becomes the issue unlike a long, long time ago..... in a town not too far away.... the school I attended only closed for weather issues if the heating boiler had broken down and was unliklely to be repaired.

I remember those days when the oil filled heating system seized up and we couldn't go to school - yippee!  However, I think the truth of the matter is that the teachers and staff lived a lot more locally in those days whereas today, commuting is the norm and snow stops this happy pastime.

Hsquared14  
#5 Posted : 12 December 2017 11:14:15(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Hsquared14

You also need to factor in that these days most children are taken to school by car rather than walk so by closing schools thousands of unnecessary journeys are prevented which reduces road risk.  These days people tend to live further away from work and school too which also plays a part in things like school closures, my neighbour lives in Burton on Trent but works at a school in Stafford.  As someone else has said it only takes a few teachers not to make it in to force a school to close on safeguarding grounds.

WatsonD  
#6 Posted : 12 December 2017 14:12:37(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
WatsonD

I used to work in a College and over the year the college was closed a number of times due to snow. This was primarily for the safety of the students as the college was unable to ensure that the whole car park and college grounds would be adequately cleared of snow and m ade sfae, gritted etc in time for students to attend, especially with fresh snowfall overnight.

On the one occsiaion that this happened on an inset day (hence only staff not students were due in), the Principal did not close the College, but allowed us to come in an hour later when the roads would have been clearer.

Roundtuit  
#7 Posted : 12 December 2017 19:34:14(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

and back to the annual debate on gritting - still can't find the statutory instrument that makes it a legal requirement to grit but do recall the appeal court ruling that councils do not have a statutory duty to grit roads

RayRapp  
#8 Posted : 12 December 2017 20:11:26(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
RayRapp

So, the school closes in order to prevent little Harry and Sally from slipping and getting hurt. Meanwhile, off they go snowboarding and building snowmen. I cannot recall my schools ever closing for snow or other bad weather - sign of the times I guess.

WatsonD  
#9 Posted : 13 December 2017 08:52:29(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
WatsonD

Originally Posted by: RayRapp Go to Quoted Post

So, the school closes in order to prevent little Harry and Sally from slipping and getting hurt. Meanwhile, off they go snowboarding and building snowmen. I cannot recall my schools ever closing for snow or other bad weather - sign of the times I guess.

I had a few 'snow days' as a kid, this is not a new thing.

I think that now with the focus on attendence targets, schools are less likely to close.

Mr.Flibble2.0  
#10 Posted : 13 December 2017 14:21:59(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Mr.Flibble2.0

Wheneven I read 'We are closed / not doing something for Health and Safety Reasons' all I see is 'We don't want to get sued'.

shaunosborne  
#11 Posted : 13 December 2017 14:30:46(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
shaunosborne

I believe there is a scottish case relevant to this where a home carer slipped on ice when visiting a client and alleged she should have been provided PPE to prevent slipping. The court found that, given she'd received training on adverse weather conditions, the slipping risk was no greater than to any other member of the public.

Spacedinvader  
#12 Posted : 13 December 2017 14:38:54(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Spacedinvader

Originally Posted by: shaunosborne Go to Quoted Post

I believe there is a scottish case relevant to this where a home carer slipped on ice when visiting a client and alleged she should have been provided PPE to prevent slipping. The court found that, given she'd received training on adverse weather conditions, the slipping risk was no greater than to any other member of the public.

Yep, Crookston, Glasgow. Upheld on appeal at Supreme Court; http://www.bbc.co.uk/new...nd-glasgow-west-35540557
A Kurdziel  
#13 Posted : 13 December 2017 15:10:11(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
A Kurdziel

The UK Supreme court overturned the Court of Session (Scottish Appeals Courts) which had overturned the original court verdict that the employer had a duty of care to the employee because the employee could not simply have refused to go out in the bad weather as she had to attend to a client who was in some discomfort. Similarly the Post office has a duty to get the mail out and that means it has to make sure that its employees are appropriately equipped for the task. The issue whether or not members of the public would venture out in the inclement weather is neither here nor there. As we often say on this forum what people do at home or away from work, has no bearing on what happens at work. I remember one incredibly bitter Saturday in winter: the buses and trains had stopped running at lunch time, no traffic, most of the shops had not bothered to open ( this was the lead upto Christmas, that’s how bad it was) and some lads appeared from the blizzard conditions dressed in football shirts, jeans and nowt else. They were walking to Elland Road (1 or 2 miles) for the match!

thanks 1 user thanked A Kurdziel for this useful post.
jwk on 21/12/2017(UTC)
safetyamateur  
#14 Posted : 13 December 2017 15:46:53(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
safetyamateur

I'm interested in what PPE is provided by employers to those who are expected to work through this kind of weather, particularly footwear. 

Spacedinvader  
#15 Posted : 13 December 2017 16:26:40(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Spacedinvader

Originally Posted by: safetyamateur Go to Quoted Post

I'm interested in what PPE is provided by employers to those who are expected to work through this kind of weather, particularly footwear. 

Something like this would do http://www.tmart.com/10-...bFQK2EAUYAyABEgKkTPD_BwE
safetyamateur  
#16 Posted : 14 December 2017 12:12:09(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
safetyamateur

Thanks, Spaced.

My interest is more about what employers have actually issued to their staff and the decision that was made to get to that point.

There's an awful lot of "use your own" around this issue.

RayRapp  
#17 Posted : 14 December 2017 12:58:33(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
RayRapp

The norm is to provide rubber soled shoes/boots for staff who need to work outside in all weathers.

It does still amaze me how many people wear inappropriate footwear for inclement weather - that's their choice if not PPE provided by the employer. 

safetyamateur  
#18 Posted : 21 December 2017 09:36:30(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
safetyamateur

Originally Posted by: Spacedinvader Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: safetyamateur Go to Quoted Post

I'm interested in what PPE is provided by employers to those who are expected to work through this kind of weather, particularly footwear. 

Something like this would do http://www.tmart.com/10-...bFQK2EAUYAyABEgKkTPD_BwE

By the way, I can see these being a slip hazard once you get onto a path that's been cleaned (I recall the old 'football boots walking back to the changing rooms shuffle') 

Edited by user 21 December 2017 09:38:56(UTC)  | Reason: Missed the closing bracket off. If left unaddressed, my entire future life would be in this thread.

thanks 1 user thanked safetyamateur for this useful post.
jwk on 21/12/2017(UTC)
RayRapp  
#19 Posted : 21 December 2017 09:52:49(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
RayRapp

Football boots with studs are designed for grass pitches - not hard surfaces.

safetyamateur  
#20 Posted : 21 December 2017 14:52:54(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
safetyamateur

Exactly, Ray. The pitch was never immediately outside the changing room and paths won't always have show/ice.

Charlie Brown  
#21 Posted : 02 January 2018 15:08:31(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
Charlie Brown

I can understand schools closing because children are vulnerable for all sorts of reasons. Big people though should have a bit more sense when it comes to appropriate footwear, where to walk etc and so long as they undergo suitable training and have the necessary footwear, clothing etc then there is no reason why they shouldn't be expected to do their job. 

PH2  
#22 Posted : 03 January 2018 12:52:19(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
PH2

Going back to the original post, the standard of care for working outdoors in snow and ice was set out in the recent Supreme Court in Kennedy v Cordia. It would apply in the case of Postmen and others who have to work outdoors in conditions of snow and ice (including the binmen who were filmed slipping on ice at Christmas: certain broadcasters repeatedly showed the clip and thought it hilarious: I wonder if that Council's insurers or union safety reps though it funny).
RayRapp  
#23 Posted : 10 January 2018 09:58:34(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
RayRapp

I suggest case law is only indicative because each case will be decided on its own individual circumstances.

Anyway, the upshot of my original posting was that Post Managers left the decision whether postmen/women should go out to the individual to decide - no one wants to take any responsibility these days it seems. I suppose it does not help when the weatherman states: only go out if it's an emergency.

A Kurdziel  
#24 Posted : 10 January 2018 11:35:47(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
A Kurdziel

Case law is not simply indicative. If there is sufficient reasoning with a judgement it can be taken as a ratio decidendi (a reasoned decision) as such courts MUST accepted it as a binding precedent even if the judge in a later case does not agree with it. Only the Supreme Court is allowed to change such a decision and then only if they are convinced it is legally wrong. In some cases the judge may make comments as opposed to decisions: these are treated as obiter dicta and can be treated as a persuasive precedent but not a binding one. In the case of Kennedy v Cordia this looks like a binding precedent

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