The Taiwan High Court rendered the 106-Jiao-Shang-Yi-208 Criminal Decision of August 22, 2017 (hereinafter, the “Decision”), holding that if the location where a worker’s negligence has resulted in the injury of another person is not a workplace designated by the employer, the duty of caution cannot be imposed on the employer.
Accused A, who was hired by Accused B to be a forklift driver, drove a forklift without authorization from a job site in this case to Shuhung North Road to unload goods from a truck. The Complainant, who had happened to travel by the job site on a scooter, hit the fork of the forklift and was injured as he was attempting to evade the truck. After the accident, Accused A admitted on the spot that he was responsible for the accident, surrendered and confessed when this accident was handled by the police. The prosecutor also determined that Accused B, who was the employer, was also negligent for the injury of the Complainant for failure to set up proper traffic signs, marks or fences in accordance with Article 21-1 of the Rules for Occupational Safety and Sanitation Facilities. Therefore, Accused B was prosecuted for mayhem due to business negligence under the second part of Article 284, Paragraph 2 of the Criminal Code.
According to the Decision, although Article 21-1 of the Rules for Occupational Safety and Sanitation Facilities stipulates that an employer is required to set up proper traffic signs, marks or fences for job sites which are accessed by vehicles or prone to traffic accidents or in which a road is occupied for operation or operation is conducted by the sides of the road. However, such requirement seeks to prevent occupational accidents of workers, i.e., illnesses, injuries, disabilities or death resulted from job sites, operating activities or other occupational reasons. Even though it is not true that the above requirement cannot serve as the general duty of care relied on by a traffic victim to pursue the liability of the offender for a traffic accident, still if the location where the accident takes place is not a job site designated by the employer, a duty of care certainly cannot be imposed on the employer. It was further pointed out in this Decision that since the location where the accident in this case took place was a road outside of the gate of the job site in this case and was not an operation location designated by Accused B, it could hardly be concluded that Accused B was guilty of mayhem for his business negligence. As a result, Accused B was acquitted.