Spend £1 on warning signs now or £1000s in claims later
Posted by David Arnold.
One of the UK’s most frequently bought signs is the one that warns of very hot water. Yet whenever this warning sign is suggested to potential customers it is often derided as doing nothing more than stating the obvious. However, it is one sign that could save any business hundreds if not thousands of pounds.
Safety signs tend to fall into two categories. The first category contains signs that must be displayed because to law tells you you have to. Examples of these are the no smoking law signs, fire exit signs and the Health and Safety Law poster. The second category contains signs that protect businesses should something go wrong. Signs like wear goggles or high visibility jackets are of course there first and foremost to advise employees and visitors. However, to many employers they are used as a permanent method of showing the outside world that, should something go wrong, that they did all they could to tell employees and visitors that they should be following their safety procedures.
The Caution Very hot water sign falls very much into the latter category. To most people the letter ‘H’ or a red dot on the tap is sufficient information to denote that the tap expels hot water. However, the Caution hot water sign that goes alongside the hot tap is not really used to reinforce this message. This sign is predominately employed to combat the ‘where there’s blame, there’s a claim’ visitor.
Arguably a practice that originated from the US, there is seemingly an ever-growing number of people in the UK who make a living out of taking hotels and other businesses to court because they have injured themselves on their premises.
Hot water is an extremely good place to start for anyone wishing to bring a court action as the scald itself leaves a clearly visible mark. As such, the scald is easy to prove. Also, using the hot water is a normal and expected activity. It is not an activity that could ever be considered by a court of law as being high jinx or misadventure. The court will simply see the injured party as doing an activity that the hotel or other business type should have expected them to do. With it being an expected activity, the business should have made provision and given adequate warning of any inherent danger.
Businesses that do not show this sign would do well to Google lawsuits involving hot water. This simple search will reveal how they are putting themselves at risk by not displaying the hot water signs at every hot water tap.
As a footnote to this, please be advised that if the sign is to be affixed to tiles, mirror or glass it should be specified in self adhesive vinyl. If it is to be attached to any other surface type, rigid plastic is advised.
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