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Your guide to occupiers liability

Construction workers looking at plans - occupiers liability

Your safety at work is primarily your employer’s responsibility.  If an accident in the workplace causes you an injury, your employer owes you a duty of care if you are:

  • Employed by the company
  • Carrying out a regular employment activity at the time your injury occurred
  • Injured on your employer's premises.

In a claim for an accident which caused you injury and harm, an employer may be shown to be in breach of duty inmeeting the standard of care owed to you because you were employed at their company.

What happens if you suffer a slip, trip or fall at another premises?

It is important to be fully aware that the duty of care changes if your work involves the delivery or collection of goods or you are contracted to carry out a job that requires visiting premises controlled by someone other than your usual employer.

The safety of everyone who is present at another occupier’s premises, including those visiting the site, is primarily the responsibility of the person in charge of the site as they should control all activities that take place there.

However, there can often be circumstances where the risks and the responsibilities of a delivery, collection or other work-related task may be shared between the main employers and the site occupiers. This arrangement is based on the exchange of information in advance and subject to prior agreement between all parties.

If you do suffer an injury caused by an accident that happened at a different workplace, your injury claim should be addressed to the legal occupier of the site. In some cases, the occupier of the premises may use the agreed sharing of liability as a way to avoid responsibility entirely because you are not one of their employees.

As with a significant number of workplace accidents, you may not only suffer physical harm and need medical treatment but you are likely to be off work for weeks or month at a time. If long-term complications arise, you may not be able to return to your former work at all and the future may start to look even more uncertain.

Your Legal Friend has 30 years of experience and in-depth knowledge of workplace law and personal injury compensation. If you have suffered an injury in a different workplace with a different occupier, our dedicated team of specialist solicitors will provide you with all the expert guidance you need to help you succeed in making your claim and securing the best possible settlement. 

The Occupier’s Liability Act 1957 – what you need to know

What precisely is meant by ‘premises’ and ‘occupier’?

  • The premises

A premises covers any fixed or movable structure, such as a warehouse, car park, lift, scaffolding, ladders and chairs.  

  • The occupier

A person in control of the properties, land or spaces where they are legally in charge.  This may be a company, an individual, a partnership or local authority.

The Occupier’s Liability Act 1957 versus The Occupier’s Liability Act 1984

Claimants in occupier’s liability cases can be divided into two main categories:

  • Lawful visitors – entitled to be on a premises
  • Trespassers – not entitled to be on a premises

The Occupier’s Liability Act 1957 - deals with accidents involving lawful visitors

The Occupier’s Liability Act 1984 - deals with accidents involving trespassers.

Under both Acts, the person who occupies the land can be held liable when injury or harm has occurred to another person while on that land.

Common law duty of care

A person who enters the premises is someone who has been invited onto the premises by the occupier. Under a common law duty of care applied to all lawful visitors, the occupier should see that “the visitor will be reasonably safe in using the premises for the reason which he or she is invited or permitted to be there.”

The fact that it is a common law duty of care means that it is applied to all lawful visitors.

It is important to know that the duty is to make the visitor safe, not the premises.

Under the 1957 Act, a warning or notification regarding an unsafe aspect of the premises can be sufficient to meet an occupier’s duty of care to keep the visitor safe.

How do I know who is in control of a premises?

There are a number of factors, including whether the person:

  • Is the owner of the property or premises
  • Has exclusive possession of the property or premises
  • Has the immediate right to enter and to use the property or  premises.

Liability for your safety also extends to a ‘manager’ of a workplace, which means that more than one person can be held to be the occupier of a premises.  

If you have been involved in an accident at a premises not controlled by your own employer, then the occupier, whether the owner or manager, should be held to account for the injury you have suffered.

Occupier’s liability - making a claim

The occupier of a premises, whether the owner or leaseholder, has a duty of care to you and everyone entitled to be on that property to ensure that they remain safe. Warnings and notifications over potential hazards on the property should be clearly visible and dangerous conditions should be made safe wherever possible.

If the occupier fails to carry out his duty of care and you suffer an injury caused by an accident on the premises, then you may have a case to make a claim.

How Your Legal Friend can help you

As experienced workplace law and serious injury claim specialists, we know that you may feel uncertain about your chances of succeeding in a occupiers liability claim. However we also know that you want to see the persons responsible held to account for failing to properly protect you from the risk of injury.

We ensure that your case is properly investigated, both expertly and sensitively, and help you build the best possible case for appropriate compensation to support you now and in the future.

Talk to us today

For an informal, confidential chat with one of expert personal injury solicitors, call us now on 0808 274 6166 (calls free from landlines and mobiles). Or just complete the 'Start a new claim’ option on the right and we'll call you straight back.