Business owners are falling down on the job of ensuring their premises are safe — causing customers to suffer a similar fate.

The Injuries Board directed the payment of just under €44m compensation in public liability cases last year, the majority for injuries suffered in slips, trips and falls in public places.

Common causes included wet floors and other poorly maintained surfaces and often the accidents happened in supermarkets, sports clubs, gyms, cinemas and hairdressers.

Stephen Watkins, corporate services director at the Injuries Board, said the trend should serve as a warning to business people and others responsible for maintaining public areas.

“A lot of the claims we get are for accidents that you could say are preventable. It’s fairly basic stuff a lot of the time — keeping public areas clear and dry for example.

“The message would be that people who own these premises should take greater steps to ensure that there are no obvious hazards for other people entering those premises because ultimately it costs them and the injured person if there is an accident.”

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