Under certain health and safety laws, occupiers of a premises must provide adequate protection for visitors to their land or premises. The duty is contained in the Occupiers Liability Act which covers visitors on land or in a premises.
An occupier is generally seen as someone who has the overall control of the land or premises. This could be the private owner of a building, or perhaps a landlord or tenant, or even a company who owns the building. Sometimes, another company can be placed in charge as well, and there are normally agreements in place for who is responsible for what.
A quick example
A common and easy example is a supermarket who has been found liable for breaching the Occupiers Liability Act when they had not fulfilled their legal duty and neglected to clear up spillages quickly, resulting in customers slipping and falling. If someone were to fall on such a spillage, the supermarket can be liable for any injury or loss caused.
There is nothing funny when a person slips and falls on a spillage and hurts themselves. You can easily break bones and end up off work for months, losing thousands of pounds and struggling to pay the rent. It’s no laughing matter at all.
What are the occupier’s duties and responsibilities?
For a lawful visitor, an occupier must ensure their premises are safe for the visitor to enter and use for the intended purpose of their visit. So, a supermarket (for example) should ensure that: all aisles have clear and unobstructed paths; things are stacked properly in shelves to prevent them from falling and hitting customers; surfaces are free from spillages etc. In places where a hazard cannot be fully removed, visitors must be warned in any way possible (e.g. by deploying signs or perhaps cordoning off an area).
Under the Occupiers Liability Act, occupiers must also take extra caution if children, the elderly or a disabled person are to enter the premises. They should account for the fact that children can be unpredictable and may at a higher risk of being injured.
If you’re injured
If you have suffered an injury arising out of an occupier’s negligence and through no fault of your own, you could be eligible for thousands of pounds in compensation. If we think you have a claim, we can help you fight for the maximum compensation you deserve.
IMPORTANT: advice on this page is intended to be up-to-date for the 'first published date'.