One of the most pressing reasons to invest in anti slip floor treatment is the strict law governing occupier’s liability in Australia. Occupier’s liability law refers to a sub-category of tort law dealing with the liability of owner-occupiers of property for injuries sustained by visitors as a result of the state of the property. “The state of the property” can refer to anything from a rickety staircase or dangerous trench to a slippery floor. Following the landmark Australian Safeway case, occupier’s liability law in Australia is now dealt with as a subset of negligence law. An example will illustrate the principles involved.
A owns a supermarket. Although he knows that his linoleum floor, which he regularly waxes and polishes, is very slippery when wet, he decides that anti slip tile treatment is too expensive. One of his employees spills orange juice on the floor and before he can clean it up, a customer, B, slips, falls and breaks her hip. If A is to be held legally liable for B’s broken hip, three requirements must first be satisfied.
1. A must owe a duty of care to B. A “duty of care” means a duty to take reasonable care to protect B from injury.
2. A must have breached his duty of care to B (i.e. A must have failed to take reasonable care).
3. The harm suffered by B must be a reasonably foreseeable consequence of B’s breach of duty.
It is plain that all three requirements are satisfied here. All occupiers of property owe a duty of care to visitors to protect them from dangers on the premises, so 1 is satisfied. A did not do anything to protect B from slip fall accidents, so 2 is satisfied. It was foreseeable that A’s lack of action would have caused B to slip, fall and be injured, so 3 is satisfied. If B sues A for her injury, A will most likely be liable.
Non Slip Floor Treatment
It will be apparent that had A invested in non slip tile treatment, he would probably have avoided legal liability. If A had hired an anti slip floor treatment expert to apply non slip tile coating, that would most likely qualify as taking “reasonable care” and thus requirement 2 would not be satisfied because A would not have breached his duty to B.
When deciding what treatment is best for your investment, it is important to choose a professional that will partner with you to help protect your tenants and public from the hefty litigation and settlement costs that can arise from slip fall accidents on their property. A professional specialist that will also devise a comprehensive non slip floor treatment program which incorporates all necessary flat surface solutions as well as safety stair nosing where applicable. For hard surfaces, it is important to look at long life treatments which will permanently increases the static coefficient of friction and significantly reduce slip fall risk. Finally, you should only contract a company that can provide detailed aftercare advice and services to ensure that owner-occupiers of property are consistently fulfilling their duty of care to visitors to protect them from slip fall accidents.
We have produced a short series of information videos here that further explain some of the treatments available and legal requirements for the Australian property owner. With the rapidly increasing trend of “No Win no Fee” legal representation it now more important than ever to have ticked all the boxes when it comes to ensuring you have taken all the steps to reduce your exposure to slip fall litigation.
Friction Systems Australia is an industry leader in floor safety and non slip floor treatment solutions for any type of property. We will quickly assess and evaluate your floors so you are aware of all relevant risks, and we can recommend affordable and effective solutions that will meet your floor safety needs along with the flooring types and materials involved.