Slip Trip and Fall (Occupiers Liability)

Regularly inspect and maintain your premises to keep them safe and free from hazards. If you fail to provide a reasonable standard of care to keep your premises hazard-free, you may be held liable for a slip, trip or fall.

Who is Liable?

Even if you rent or lease a premise, it is your responsibility to ensure that the premises within your control are reasonably safe. When there is more than one occupier – such as when there is both a landlord and tenant working in the same space, or when an organization rents its playing field to a sports group – liability may be shared. In the event of a slip, trip or fall, who is liable will depend on the circumstances.

In the case of shared spaces or multiple occupiers, such as a landlord and tenants, ensure that the lease agreement clearly states the responsibilities of each party. The agreement should identify:

  • the areas each party is responsible for
  • which party is responsible for inspection, maintenance, repairs, etc.
  • the liabilities of each party.

Common Hazards

The best way to avoid liability is to prevent losses from occurring by diligently keeping your premises free from hazards. This diligence, combined with thorough and consistent documentation, is an effective way to defend your organization in the event of a claim or lawsuit. 

As an occupier, your organization is required to keep areas – such as aisles, stairs, ramps, walkways, driveways and parking lots – reasonably safe for the people who use them. Common hazardous conditions include:

  1. Ice and snow that has not been cleared
  2. Unexpected elevation changes
  3. Uneven surfaces du e to cracks, gaps or potholes
  4. Slippery surfaces, such as wet floors or tile flooring
  5. Missing or loose handrails on stairs
  6. Debris on walkways, such as boxes in aisles
  7. Inadequate lighting.

Determining Appropriate Care

Criteria to determine whether an appropriate standard of care was applied include:

  • Whether the danger was foreseeable
  • Whether the occupier's conduct was in accordance with acceptable standards of practice
  • Whether there was an adequate system of inspection in place (considering the risks involved) and whether it was carried out
  • Whether the danger was allowed to exist for an unreasonable length of time
  • The ease with which the danger could have been prevented.

Learn about best practices in risk management to mitigate risks related to slips, trips and falls.


Source: Compiled with Canadian Risk Intervention Inc.