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Employer liability: injuries suffered on your lunch break

Whether your employer is liable for an injury suffered on your lunch break depends on where, how and why your lunch break-accident occurred.

When your employer is not liable for injuries suffered on your lunch break

Your employer would, for example, not be liable for any injury you have suffered on your lunch break if you:

  • Tripped and fell on your way to a nearby shop or café
  • Broke a tooth on something hard in food you brought with you
  • Were scalded by a hot beverage in a café you visited during your break

Your employer could, however, possibly be held liable for a slip or trip on the way to a café or shop if you were going there to fetch lunch for him, as this could be interpreted as a work-related accident.

When your employer is liable for an injury you suffered on your lunch break

Your employer could be liable for a personal injury suffered on your lunch break if, for instance, you:

  • Had a slip, trip or fall in the company canteen because there was a trip, slip or fall hazard that should and could have been dealt with by your employer
  • Were electrocuted by canteen equipment, which should have been kept in safe working order by your employer
  • Were caught in a workplace accident, a fire or explosion, for example, while on your way to have lunch

In essence, your employer could be held liable for any workplace injury that is either directly related to your work or caused by a hazard that should have been removed or clearly marked as such on or around the premises.


The reason your employer can be held liable for and may have to compensate you for any suffering and pain a work injury may cause you is that they have a duty of care towards you. This duty of care makes it necessary for them to prevent accidents at work by assessing all possible risks and taking any reasonable, necessary steps to minimise those risks.

Accident Advice Helpline

If you believe you may have a case for a work injury claim, get in touch with one of our sympathetic advisors to confirm your eligibility to claim, get relevant advice and have one of our in-house industrial injury experts assigned to your case.

The number you should call is 0800 689 5659.