If you operate a business which is open to the public, it is your responsibility as the owner to ensure your business takes reasonable care for the safety of individuals at your place of operation.
A public liability claim can be made when an accident occurs in a public space or on someone else’s property and can be claimed several years after the event.
A claim may arise through many variables where a person suffers an injury because of an action or negligence of another person, body or business operator.
This article will highlight the types of claims which can arise in businesses from one of the seemingly simple trades services – Line Marking.
Examples of Claims
Claims can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars and can result from incidents such as:
- Slipping and falling
- Slipping and injuries resulting from preventing a fall
- Tripping due to uneven surfaces
- Minor traffic accidents due to unclear or ambiguous signage
- Back and neck injuries
- Broken bones
- Sprains and tears
- Car accidents
Causes of Injury
Injuries can be caused by a number or variables, however typical ones we see within the line marking industry include:
- Inadequate maintenance
- Wearing of anti-slip properties
- Inferior materials used
What can be claimed
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of wages and future loss of earning capacity
- Medical expenses and future medical expenses if required
- Legal costs
Who Is Liable?
The subcontractor who completed the works on your site, right?
It’s not necessarily as simple as that. If a subcontractor is working for you, regardless within which capacity, and is being directed by yourself, you may ultimately find yourself fully or partially liable for any claim.
Retailers, building managers, and landlords can be found to be liable.
So, if your subcontractors aren’t doing the right thing, you could ultimately be held responsible.
In 2015, Kenex Stencils was involved in a claim which awarded a shopping centre customer over $400,000 due to slipping on a disabled logo in the centre’s car park.
The line marking had been completed in 2011 as per Australian Standards and using Australian Standard line marking paint, however, it was judged that “there was absolutely no evidence of any maintenance or inspection on (the store’s) part so there had been both a breach of the duty to keep the area safe and also a failure to take precautions to defeat the risk of harm”.
The court heard that the store owner as well as Kenex Stencils were equally liable for the accident due to the store not keeping a regular health check on the line marking in its car park.
How to Safeguard your Business
- Line marking should not be treated as a set and forget item, it needs to be maintained over time.
It is on the ground and as such may be exposed to weather and traffic conditions and may diminish over time.
- Ensure your subcontractor is using a quality line marking paint which is purpose manufactured and designed for its application.
Top branded paints will give up to two year’s warranty on durability if applied as per manufacturer’s specifications and on properly prepared surfaces.
- Avoid the use of spray cans of line marking paint as these are only designed for ‘marking out’ areas and should never be used for permanent markings.
- Ensure your line marking achieves the required slip rating necessary for the application. Even though you have been ensured you are getting anti-slip in your line marking, if it doesn’t meet Australian Standards, you may be leaving yourself open should an incident occur.
Anti-slip beads also need to be correctly applied to ensure they are being suitably encapsulate by the paint and won’t simply fall out as soon as pressure is applied.
- Slip ratings should also be tested regularly to ensure they are holding up over time.
- Good practice is to have your public markings e.g. pedestrian crossings and arrows, and signage audited annually just to ensure everything is still compliant
And most importantly – don’t leave risk mitigation to your subcontractors!
Firstly, check that they have the proper insurances in place themselves, and ensure you deal with a reputable company that takes the care and safety of your business operations as seriously as it does its own.
Why choose Kenex to help mitigate your risks?
- We have experience from past cases which we can draw on and are happy to share with our customers
- We have developed processes and procedures to always ensure we are working compliantly and keep daily records of such
- We only use certified paints and materials
- We offer a consultation process to educate our customers in compliance within our industry
- We offer traffic management planning to design compliant layouts in carparks and workspaces
- We implement a follow up process which assists our customers to keep a health check on their line marking and takes the hassle and complexity away from them
- If there is anything anyone should know about line marking and the industry, just ask us – we are veterans in our industry!
Get in touch today if you’d like to know more about keeping your business safe and compliant.