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Employers should carry out risk assessments for employees who have a medical condition.

The importance of risk assessments at work

In the very tragic case recently reported involving the death of an employee at Morrisons the importance of risk assessments has been highlighted.

Matthew Gunn was 27 when he had a seizure at work and fell down the stairs tragically losing his life.

Morrisons were fined £3.5 million for their failures to safeguard Mr Gunn and put measures in place to prevent the tragic accident.

What is most upsetting about this case is that Mr Gunn’s mother had herself warned management about the risk of a seizure whilst he was using the stairs.

The three health and safety breaches that Morrisons were charged with were:

  1. Failure to ensure the health and safety of an employee with epilepsy.
  2. Failure to carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment.
  3. Failure to review the risks that an employee with epilepsy might be exposed to.

There is a high probability that had management at Morrisons taken Mr Gunn’s condition seriously and moved his locker so that he did not have to walk up and down the stairs frequently during the workday, that he would be alive today.

Put simply the steps employers should take are as follows:

  1. Obtain information about employee medical conditions or disabilities.
  2. Analyse the risk to that individual of their working environment.
  3. Take action to mitigate any risks identified.

Not sure on what you should be doing? Get advice.

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The information contained in this blog post is provided for guidance and is a snapshot of the law at the time it is written. It is provided for your information only and should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice that it specific to your particular circumstances.

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