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Health & Safety Madness! – Property Owners Liability News

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Further to the recent case of WPC Kelly Jones, who tripped on a kerb during a call out to a garage and subsequently tried to claim £50,000 for an injured ankle, (she subsequently dropped the claim due to pressure from the public and even comments from the then Home Secretary, Theresa May of ‘frivolous’ claims of police compensation), once again we see health and safety gone mad with the advent of a police community support officer sticking in a claim against a property development company for some similar nonsense, which if upheld will be claimed against the company’s property owners liability insurance.

This sign pertains to anywhere on earth apparently!
This sign pertains to anywhere on earth apparently!

A 53 year old PCSO, Pauline Harrison, from Merseyside, is suing Lightflask Ltd. who are the owners of a now derelict building in Birkdale. She was supposed to be investigating reports of some youths attempting to gain entry on the roof of the building, a former blind school, when she ‘tripped’ over a three foot fence. Whilst it is not known how much she is claiming in total, somewhere between £1,000 and £5,000, it is known that it includes £14 for prescriptions, £25 for travel expenses and £102 for the physiotherapy she had for the ‘soft tissue injuries’ she sustained to her right knee. Part of her claim states that there were no adequate warning signs.

Right, now for the rant. I firstly have to wonder if Ms. Harrison is a former pupil of the Sunshine House Blind School! How on earth could you possibly trip over a three foot fence?! Warning signs?! What, like “CAUTION! THERE’S A BLOODY GREAT FENCE RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU THAT YOU MIGHT NOT OTHERWISE NOTICE WERE IT NOT FOR THIS WARNING SIGN WHICH WE’VE STRATEGICALLY PUT ON THE FENCE WHICH YOU WOULDN’T OTHERWISE SEE!” The world has gone completely mad! It also begs the question as to the capability of Ms. Harrison in respect of the job which she was so clearly incompetently carrying out. What if she HAD encountered a group of youths? How would she have tackled that situation? Maybe there were youths on the property but she failed to notice them too!

Nope, I still can't see it!
Nope, I still can’t see it!

I am however pleased to report that Merseyside Police have distanced themselves completely from this fiasco. Nikki Holland, the regional Chief Superintendent is quoted as saying “Merseyside Police seeks to manage the risks to officers and staff. Nevertheless frontline staff will sometimes be exposed to risks. The force would always encourage officers and staff to be mindful of their surroundings and to assess situations to avoid unnecessary risks. In this instance a Police Community Support Officer has decided to take out a civil claim in relation to an injury sustained whilst on duty. This is not a course of action that the force would encourage or support.” Thank you Chief Superintendent for a modicum of common sense!

Anyway, rant over. This story does however illustrate the absolute necessity to have adequate property owners liability insurance in place, something which we are pleased to be able to offer here at The business insurance comparison site!

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