Short-Cut Slip Employer Liable

Posted: 18th February 2011

car park no entryWhen people use, as a matter of course, an ‘unauthorised’ path to get from A to B, the property owner can have the same liability if an accident occurs that it would if the accident had taken place using the ‘approved’ path.
That is the message for land owners following an accident in which a council employee used a well-used short cut across the council’s land to her car. In using the short-cut, she tripped over a kerb stone and was injured.
The council had taken no steps to make the path safe nor had it instructed employees not to use the short cut. The council was found to be partly responsible for the accident under s12 of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, which requires that ‘traffic routes’ in a place of work shall be maintained in a condition suitable for that for which they are used.
The council had control of the land, the route used was a traffic route and it was not suitable for use as such. The council had therefore failed to fulfil its obligations under s12.
If you have employees or others who routinely use an unauthorised path over your premises, take note of this case and make sure you take measures to prevent the use or make sure it is safe.