As we enter into the season of longer days and warmer weather, many of us will be reaching for the tennis racquet at the back of the cupboard, the football from the shed, the swimming trunks from the chest of drawers and heading out to our local sporting facilities. Did you know that under the Occupiers Liability Act 1957 the owners of such facilities need to ensure that all visitors are safe from potential harm?
Providing a safe environment for the public should never be taken lightly. The serious consequences of failing this fundamental duty was highlighted in the recent case of XDX (a minor) v Northampton Borough Council (2015).
A very tragic incident in which a child sustained a significant brain injury due to the lifeguards failure to correctly monitor the swimming pool area. The facility failed to comply with the Health and Safety Commission’s 1999 guideline “Managing Health and Safety in Swimming Pools”.
The Court found that if the lifeguards had acted with the duty of care required and surveyed the swimming pool correctly they would have prevented the child from sustaining the injury. As a result of this negligence the Local Authority was found to be liable.
Accidents can, and do, happen - many with tragic consequences. It is important to remember that if there is a sense that the standard of care provided at a sporting facility is deficient or in doubt – alert the owners of the sporting facilities or the local councils. This would help to provide a safer environment for the public and would help to prevent any incidents in the future.