Visitors to the workplace

Employers have a common law duty to take reasonable precautions for the safety of both legitimate visitors and uninvited visitors, such as trespassers, to their premises.

Visitors including clients, members of the organisation normally working at other sites, sales representatives, attendees of meetings, seminars and training events, temporary workers and contractors.

There is also a duty of care to uninvited visitors, such as trespassers. The Occupiers Liability Act 1984 defines under what circumstances a duty is owed. Occupiers will be liable to an injured trespasser if three conditions apply.

1. The occupier knew of the risk or had reasonable grounds to believe that it existed.
2. The occupier knew or had reasonable grounds to believe that trespassing may occur.
3. The risk is one that the occupier may reasonably be expected to offer some protection against.

An employer must carry out risk assessments that take into account the risks to visitors and to others caused by having visitors in the workplace.

A risk assessment  is an important step in protecting your business and the people that may come into contact with it, as well as  complying with the law.

Good communication is necessary to advise visitors of any particular hazards in the workplace and of emergency procedures.

An employer should also consider any particular requirements or vulnerabilities of visitors. An employer should ascertain before the visitor arrives whether any special arrangements need to be put in place, for example,

  • to accommodate any disability of the visitor
  • for the safe handling of any chemicals that the visitor may be bringing on site.

Visitors should be supervised, monitored or accompanied as necessary and appropriate, particularly in restricted or hazardous areas. Supervision should be adequate to prevent the visitor from straying into hazardous areas and becoming exposed to danger.

If you require assistance with any health and safety issues, please contact us.


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