Avoiding time loss
This is nothing to do with health and safety, but about choosing routes with low risk of missing the controls. A lot of running effort can be quickly undone by not finding a control and having to "relocate", and losing track of where you are can be a disaster.
A safe route is one where you are certain you can accurately navigate the route, and eliminate the risk of missing the control and getting lost.
For example here is an extract from the Blue course at a QOFL at Ham Hill a few years ago, on which I have marked two sensible routes from 10 to 11: The shortest, most direct route is the more northerly option - follow the bottom path to the path junction and about 50m further then climb up to the control.
But the control site is a rootstock, which may not be very easy to spot, and it is hard to follow a bearing diagonally 13 up a slope.
So there is a risk of missing the control, and any time gained taking the direct route could be much less than the time spent searching. The safer route is follow the path uphill, turn left for 100m along the top, use the thicket as an attack point and drop back down onto the control. Simpler, but longer.
If you feel confident navigating the direct route then take it - you should get an advantage. But if you are going to rely on good luck to find the control, then maybe the safe route is more appropriate.
Choosing a safe route is all about making choices within the limits of your skills.
- Skilling Up- Hints and Tips for Improvement #6, from QuOnicle 152, January 2014