One of our employees took part on our grounds in the Ice Bucket Challenge. It seemed like a good idea and was to raise money for charity. However, one of the employees tipping a bucket slipped and damaged vertebrae in her back. She’s now off sick and threatening to sue us because we allowed the thing to take place without adequate warnings. We didn’t encourage it – we just let the employees get on with it. Where do we stand legally and is this another case of health and safety gone mad?

Posted in : First Tuesday Q&A ROI on 2 September 2014
Zelda Cunningham
Arthur Cox
Issues covered:

While employers have a statutory and common law duty of care to employees at work, employees also have a duty to safeguard their own wellbeing at work. An employer can seek to defend any personal injuries or statutory claim by demonstrating that the employee contributed to or was wholly responsible for his/her own injury.

The statutory obligations of employers and employees at work are set out in the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005 (the “2005 Act”). Section 8 of the 2005 Act imposes a general duty of care upon all employers to ensure the health and safety of all employees as far as “reasonably practicable”. This extends to preventing improper behaviour amongst employees.

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Back to Q&A's This article is correct at 02/09/2015

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Zelda Cunningham
Arthur Cox

The main content of this article was provided by Zelda Cunningham. Contact telephone number is +353 1 618 0000 or email

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