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Truck Mount Demo Gone Wrong

Posted by DP (DP), 22 February 2004

Iíve struggled quite a bit with this deciding whether or not to post, especially as I donít want to mention the company involved, however as it was a classic example of what can happen when you least expect it.

I received a truck mount demo in the week by a very well known supplier who had suggested that the best way to demo was to do some cleaning.

I asked the manger of the building I rent offices from and he suggested the main entrance carpet area. The equipment was set up and the demo started with a pre spray of the area duly followed by the start of extraction.

After an area of only about 4-6ft was cleaned a young office girl came rushing in the entrance area stepping around the hoses etc and walked straight across that single patch that had just been cleaned in front of the wand.

Yup you guessed it, she went flying and hit the floor big time, right in front of us. After a very short yelp, she began making comments about no wet floor signs and compensation within seconds of hitting the floor although how she could know about the absence of signs from where she was bewildered me, as the area she crossed was out of site from where she had landed.

So we thought SCAM straight away as it appeared to be totally contrived. Unfortunately yesterday I was advised that she had in fact broken her arm, and the probability of a claim against responsible people was imminent.

What a sad conclusion to a simple demo being carried out by a very experienced individual and reputable company and which all happened in seconds. This was a top end and extremely powerful machine being used and we think the cause of the slip was from the pre spray residue being walked across rather then from stepping on the patch of cleaned carpet.

However I guess the moral to this little tale is how many of you set up your signs before you start or at all, if you donít then please heed the above (which is why I posted) as it appears it can happen to anyone however experienced you are.

Please note: this was not Prochem

Posted by lenpg (Len Gribble), 22 February 2004
DP

Did they also have a trip sign out? That also another hazard!

Len

Posted by clive (clive), 22 February 2004
Unfortunately, whatever machine you used, you have to have signs up first.
sad lesson to have learned and hope everything goes o.k.

clive
Posted by lee_gundry (lee_gundry), 22 February 2004
DP

is she going to claim of you, or the demo companyHuh?

Lee G
Posted by Dynafoam (Dynafoam), 22 February 2004
DP

Interesting question from Lee - If you are deemed to be the 'contractor' and the demo company the 'sub-contactor', the claim may well be directed at yourself, leaving you to take redress from the demo company.

I would be hopeing that the demo company would opt to settle quickly and quietly, leaving you out of the loop. but then insurance companies are involved.....

Good luck with it.

John.
Posted by DP (DP), 22 February 2004
Re the claim bit:

Well although I have thought about this a lot as you can imagine, and resolved that there should not be a claim against me, Iím not totally convinced that Iím out of the frame at all, although Iím struggling to see the priority connection, maybe you guys might be able to add some thoughts here?

The facts are that there are 3 parties of responsibility although all should lead back to the company involved.

1 The company that caused the incident
2 The building owners who allowed the demo (it was a public area and ultimately their responsibility)
3 Me who requested the demo and who bought all the parties together and was present at the time (although not paying a lot of attention it seems).

I have exonerated myself from blame at this time in respect that it was not my building and I did not wet the floor. Another analogy here is if I requested a demo of a washing machine in (say) Comets and someone fell over the open door, would that constitute being my fault for asking for the demo?

Its contentious to say the least, however I have a gut feeling that Iím missing something here which is in my face, just cant think what.

Len:
Nope there were no trip signs out either, and you are absolutely right, as this was just as big a hazard on the day as the wet floor.

DP.

Posted by lee_gundry (lee_gundry), 22 February 2004
did you take any photos of the accident site,signs in place bright coloured hoses etc.

I think, that while you are on site its your responsability for the warning of slippy floors,After you have left the building its the building owner/manager issue,as long as he/she has been informed about the problem area,& maybe a disclaimer could have been signed.

i now that this is not really practical on a demo but whenever i see fit to get take procaution i get the forms out.

Lee G
Posted by Mike_Boxall (Mike_Boxall), 22 February 2004
Hi DP

I'm not so sure that the Comet analagy is the same situation - Comet would be the building owner as well as being directly responsible for the accident.

I would assume, from the 'victims' perspective the legal order of liability would be:

1) The building occupier or employer
2) Yourself as a contractor responsible for the work
3) The supplier as a sub contractor

One way or another I think you will have a liability to the owner / occupier but I'd be interested to hear the outcome.

Do you have any doubt that she actually broke her arm? If she did you can be sure she'll get money from someone Huh

Regards

Mike


Posted by lenpg (Len Gribble), 22 February 2004
DP

Who liable?
Ultimately you! For not doing a, risk assessment and implementing it, the others have a part the demo team and the management for not insuring a safe environment.

If this girl claims against you, will your pl insurance cover you? We all know that insurance companies like to find an escape clause you may have provided them with one NO SIGNS. Hope it does not come to that.

A GOOD POST

LET US KNOW OF THE OUT COME THAT WAY WE ALL LEARN

Donít know comets/curry done demoís are there washing machines now plumed in? If so Iíll get the wife to take the washing their only if they also supply the powder.

Len

Posted by Eric (Eric), 23 February 2004
DP,

Health and safety at work act 1974 requires employers to provide a safe working environment and operate systems which protect persons from harm.

The reporting of injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 places a statutory duty on employers to report prescribed accidents.

Have you carried out your own accident investigation, starting by filling in your own accident book and also the sites accident book?

Also remember NEVER ADMIT LIABILITY.

Everyone should learn from this, always provide method statements and risk assessments

DP I hope everything goes alright for you

Regards,

Eric

Posted by BeeClean (BeeClean), 23 February 2004
eric thats good advice but lets be honest who else here would do a method statement and a risk assessment for a demonstration Huh could of happened to any of us. rulkes and regulations are fine but they dont take into account sods law Embarassed
Posted by DP (DP), 24 February 2004
Hi guys
Mike : Yes the girl did return to work with her arm in plaster ( although she has now been dismissed from her company due to a verbal incident today, so Iím told).

I have taken some senior advice on this in respect of liability and it appears that the first crime was the absence of the risk assessment and method statement, which should (and would) have revealed the need for signs or extra matting or even a diversion, apparently all parties in this sense were equally responsible. However I guess we all knew that bit, although oddly a comparison was made with a case in a Heinz factory where a contractor subbed out some work to another which resulted in a man falling through a roof light onto another person.

Apparently the judge decided that although many parties were deemed responsible, the ultimate blame should go to Heinz for not maintaining a safe environment being the building owner. Curious conclusion that one.

I guess we will know in time and I will keep this post updated as I can, however I think you will all appreciate this is a live situation so I will have to be careful about what I make public just at the mo.

As always gentlemen, your comments and thoughts are very much appreciated.
DP.

PS. re the administration part,
At the moment everybody †is collecting statements from each other and I am preparing my own which can then be submitted as required to each party to ensure consistancy ( I learnt that one some time ago, never let any one party take a live statement from you).

Posted by martin_606 (martin_606), 25 February 2004
Hi DP

sadly in this compensation world gone mad she will not doubt end up winning and getting paid some obscene amount of cash!

Now this was an accident...

An accident by definition is

an unexpected event causing injury
a mishap
chance
happening by chance

So, by definition no-one is to blame, exept her for not watching where she is going?

Of course this would not stand up in court in our crazy world where no-one seems to be responsible for their own actions and events.

Accidents can never be eradicated, it does not matter how many precautions we take, accidents have and will always happen, because by definition they are pure chance.

Good luck

Regards

Martin Cool
Posted by Ed_Valentine (Ed Valentine), 25 February 2004
Boy, is Martin ever right on this one.

The same rule of thumb is true here in the states, gentlemen. You can't sneeze anymore without the potential of a law suit anymore. "Common-Sense" or "Personal Responsibility" is out the rear window.

You can't serve a pint of Ale without the possiblitiy of getting sued; Company Christmas parties to aware your employees are quickly being eliminated because of potential law suits if someone gets into an accident perhaps because they were speeding. And, the beat goes on.

Until the Judges start insituting "common-sense" responsibility laws (as our grandfathers had years ago) the deteriorization will continue and set commerce back on our heels. Cry

Those are only my thoughts.

Good Fortune and the very best to DP;
Ed Valentine
Posted by Petersullivan (Petersullivan), 26 February 2004
DP maybe the company who owns the building has a walk and dont run policy, that should help your cause if only as a couteracting argument against the girl. in my experiance the building owners normally put signs up as they have to remain long after your gone. good luck Wink
Posted by DP (DP), 1 March 2004
Sorry Folks me internet connection has been dead for nearly a week, hence the delay.

Hi Peter
Sadly there is no such signs in the building, so no escape on that one.

Would like to say many many thanks for the "Pm's" offering best wishes, which was both surprising and very much appreciated.

It has been good to know that another supplier has changed their demonstration policies based on this thread, which (along with your comments) has very much supported my decision to post

As promised will keep you advised.
DP



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