The Obviousness of Risk



To be alive at all involves some risk” – Harold MacMillan

1. On 5th July 2015, at approximately 2am, Christopher James returned to his bedroom at the White Lion Hotel in Worcester. He had attended a wedding with his friend. They had both been drinking but neither was drunk. Despite the late hour, it had been a hot day and the temperature in the room remained uncomfortably warm. The room contained a large sash window, which was close to one of the twin beds. The sash mechanism on the window was broken, with the result that the lower half would not stay open unless it was propped up. Once open, however, the gap was wide enough for a person to lean out. The bottom of the sill was just 46cm from the floor. At approximately 2:46am, having sat on the window sill and lent out in an attempt to cool down, and possibly to have a cigarette, Mr James fell to his death. After the accident the hotel was prosecuted and pleaded guilty to criminal offences under the Health and Safety at work act 1974. In particular, the hotel had not carried out any risk assessment of the window. After the accident, a window restrictor was installed at a cost of £7-8.

2. Mr James’s widow brought a claim against the hotel (on behalf the estate and as a dependant) for a breach of the duty under section 2 of the Occupiers Liability Act 1957for failing to take reasonable care to see that he was reasonably safe in using the premises for the purposes that he was invited to be there.

Read in full here.

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