Why it’s important to check your car parks
With around 80% of all claim costs coming from trips and slips on uneven surfaces and ice, we would advise our clients to take some basic action in order to minimise their exposure to incidents of this type.
Stuart Dobbins, our Technical Claims Manager from our in-house Claims Team, discusses a club’s responsibilities and the legal technicalities around car park repair and maintenance:
“As with almost all health and safety guidance, regular checks to car parks and walkways are crucial for protecting your club from claims. Ideally these would be done daily and the records kept secure. Regular checks are essential to prove, in the event of a claim, that you are providing a safe place of work for staff and visitors.”
“Establishing clearly the boundary lines between your areas of responsibility and those of other premises on site is another important task for minimising claims against your business. These areas of responsibility should be supported by plans where possible and a signed agreement obtained between both parties to confirm that they accept the limits of their obligations. If a claim then occurs in an area for which you are not responsible then it will be relatively simple to prove that any consideration of liability should not fall on yourselves.”
“Needless to say, if you notice any defects to other areas that are not your responsibility these should be reported to the relevant representatives of whichever business or operation is charged with managing these areas.”
“Regarding your own checks, Section 2(2) of the Occupiers’ Liability Act states that you have “a duty to take such care as in all the circumstances of the case is reasonable to see that the visitor will be reasonably safe in using the premises for the purposes for which he is invited or permitted to be there.”
“The test is therefore one of reasonableness – your car parks and walkways do not have to be flawless, merely fit for purpose and reasonably safe for visitors.”
“However it should also be noted that Section 2 of the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 states that “a person can not by reference to any contract or to a notice exclude or restrict his liability for death or personal injury resulting from negligence”. Essentially this means that you are not able to place a sign at the entrance to the car park suggesting that you accept no responsibility for injuries sustained to visitors. If the injury results from your negligence then this supersedes any signage, notice or contract that may seek to assert your blamelessness for an incident.”
In conclusion, your ability to defend a claim will instead rest on your being able to:
- Demonstrate a reasonable inspection policy
- Demonstrate that repairs are conducted in a timely fashion
What your Broker recommends for clubs
Demonstrate a reasonable inspection policy
Stuart says –
“We would recommend that all car parks and walkways that are your responsibility are made subject to an appropriate risk assessment. Ensure to take relevant photographic evidence in support. Depending on the conclusions drawn from each risk assessment the frequency of inspections can then be set to reflect the potential danger inherent in each area.”
“If defects are discovered, these should be categorised in terms of severity and the probability of causing injury. Timescales for repair can then be applied according to the urgency of the completion of the work. As ever, photographic evidence should be kept to show the defect in question and the action undertaken to remedy the same.”
Demonstrate a reasonable repair policy
Stuart says –
“Following your inspections, a repair policy should be instituted, including an allowance for reasonable timescales for repair in line with the severity rating of each defect.”
“Where a repair can not be undertaken immediately, a documented procedure should be produced and followed in order to ensure the safety of the area.”
What clubs need to do next
To ensure your insurance policies are in order, contact your broker. Club Insure will guide your risk assessments and ensure you reduce your risk of falling victim to a claim. See our risk assessments services here.
The wisest decision any business can make when aiming to reduce their risk is by consolidating with a broker, with the right broker.
Club Insure and our expert Stuart Dobbins are here to help. We can provide the best service and advice to clubs throughout the tricky winter period.