1 Sep 2015

70 slipped on tiles before woman broke back

12:34 pm on 1 September 2015

The lawyer for a woman who successfully prosecuted Otago University over the serious injuries she got when she slipped on wet tiles says the number of similar accidents was unacceptable.

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Photo: 123rf.com

The university yesterday pleaded guilty to a private health and safety prosecution brought by Katherine Casey and will pay her $60,000 in reparations.

Ms Casey broke her pelvis and back when she slipped on the tiles while visiting the university's Commerce Building in June 2013.

About 70 people have been injured on the tiles in the past 24 years and Ms Casey's lawyer, Victoria Casey - her sister - said that was outrageous.

"This is just unacceptable in a large institution. Parents trust that their children will be safe when they send them to Otago University, staff need to be safe, visitors need to be safe. This was a blatant ignoring of their responsibilities and it must never happen again.

She said the case should be a wake-up call to many public institutions.

In a statement sent to Morning Report today, the university apologised to Ms Casey.

"The university apologises for the distress to the complainant involved in this case and has worked hard to try to resolve this person's concerns. The university would also like to reassure its students, its staff and the public that major steps, including recently-completed planning for a major refurbishment of the building, are being taken to improve layout, access and safety.

"In the meantime, as well as the improvements to the tiles that have already been made, any hazardous areas have been highlighted using cones and other visual aids wherever necessary."