Ameritech Employee Collects Benefits For Slip-And-Fall Injury

Ruling: The Commission awarded benefits to an employee who slipped and fell while walking to the building entrance of her workplace. There was only one entrance available to the claimant and she was carrying an employee badge when she fell.

What it means: An employee who must arrive at work during the early morning hours, prior to the time when salting and ice removal normally begins, is subject to a greater risk of slipping on ice while walking to her workplace entrance.

Summary: The claimant was walking to the employee entrance in the morning hours when she slipped and fell. The accident occurred approximately 12 feet from the doorway. She injured her left ankle. The arbitrator found the accident arose out of and in the course of her employment, noting that the claimant was required to be at the location of her fall early in the morning so that she could enter the building and begin her workday. In so holding, the arbitrator relied on Davis v Spiegel, in which an employee slipped and fell on ice while walking to the entrance of her workplace. In Davis, snow had fallen in the previous 24 hours, resulting in icy conditions. The Davis employee was exposed to a risk of falling to a greater degree than the general public. Upon review, the Commission affirmed and adopted the decision of the arbitrator.

The employer argued that because the general public could traverse the same general area, the accident did not arise out of the claimant’s employment. The arbitrator disagreed, noting that the general public was not at the same risk as the claimant. The claimant was required to be at work at 6:30 a.m. prior to the greater degree of rush hour and prior to the time when salting and ice removal would normally begin. The evidence also showed that the entrance that the claimant was approaching when she fell was the only one available to her and that she was carrying an employee ID badge when she fell.

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Donald Fohrman
Donald W. Fohrman & Associates, Ltd.