A recent decision of the Court of Appeal emphasises that both under the Occupiers Liability Act and under the Common Law, the duty on the occupier of premises is to exercise "reasonable care". It is not an absolute duty to prevent visitors to those premises from being injured.
In Hufton v Somerset County Council (2011) the Court rejected a claim for damages brought by a 15-year-old school girl who suffered a significant knee injury after slipping in a wet patch on the floor of her school hall. The school had prepared a written risk assessment that identified the need for the fire exit doors, one of two entrances to the hall, to be blocked up on wet days. When it rained, the system was implemented by putting up a sign on the doors and by stationing prefects in the vicinity to prevent the use of the fire exit. On the day of the accident it did not start to rain until after the pupils had gone outside for their 20 minute morning break and unfortunately the sign had not been put up prior to some of the pupils returning into the school. The court, however, found that the council was not at fault because the school had a "reasonable" system in place to prevent the hall floor from getting wet.
The case therefore highlights that where an organisation can show that they have undertaken a thorough risk assessment and have put all appropriate measures in place to implement the same, claims arising from accidents on their premises can be successfully defended.