• Tips for Prevention of Slip and Fall Claims on Business PremisesApril 07, 2016

    Since businesses invite the public onto their premises, a higher standard of care is warranted to maintain a hazard free environment, to prevent falling, slipping, tripping or other injury. Whether you are the landlord or the business owner, you should work diligently to keep the public safe at the business premises.

    Various ways to help eliminate a slip and fall or help protect yourself in the event of a lawsuit would include the following:

    Records, surveillance and maintenance:

    • Install security cameras inside and outside of your premises and save the recordings for at least 5 years.
    • In absence of security cameras, take photos of the interior and exterior of the premises routinely and save the photos.
    • Maintain records of any complaints made, along with records of when and how each complaint was addressed.
    • Preserve and maintain cleaning logs that outline when floors are cleaned, checked for hazardous areas or materials, and regular housekeeping items are completed.
    • Records of maintenance, repairs and routine checks or inspections should be kept.

    Stairs, decks, and ramps:

    • Check local and uniform building codes and install or repair:
      • Handrails on stairs, decks or ramps in accordance with such codes.
      • Stairs should be constructed at the correct height and depth to prevent falls.
    • Regularly check and repair stairs, deck boards and handrails for slick surfaces, rotten or loose boards, chips or broken cement and unsecure nails or screws.

    • Nothing should be stored or kept on staircases.

    Floors, interior walkways, parking areas, sidewalks, and lawns:

    • Use yellow paint or other warning sign(s) to identify exterior hazards, such as changes in elevations, curbs, car stops, etc.
    • For large potholes, cracks, water meter recessions, etc. in parking lots, sidewalks, driveways, etc. use immobile warning signs and barriers until an adequate repair can be made. Check these areas often and make repairs promptly.
    • Use wet floor signs and cones to keep individuals from walking on wet surfaces.
    • Post warning signs and barriers in areas where leaks, spills and liquid or foreign materials are known to routinely occur. Make repairs to eliminate these issues promptly.
    • Fill in any holes in lawns, whether people normally walk in that area or not.
    • Keep lawn free of clutter, sticks and other items that could cause tripping hazards.
    • Use water absorbing floor mats with slip resistant backing. Check mats regularly to ensure they aren’t bunched or flipped up on the edge and are still secure.
    • Cords, boxes, furniture, nor any other item(s) should be in interior or exterior walking paths. All areas should be kept free of clutter and obstructions.

    Other Safety Suggestions:

    • Quickly clean up spills or other areas that may cause a fall. Do routine checks for such instances.
    • Keep all areas free of clutter and obstructions.
    • Worn out flooring materials with rips or loose edges on carpets, linoleum, rugs, concrete, tile or areas of rotten sub flooring should be repaired or replaced immediately.
    • Consider contracting someone to do snow and ice removal from sidewalks, stairs, parking areas and any other area that is normally traversed.
    • Sufficient lighting in all areas of your locale should be sustained with special attention to lighting in parking areas, stairways, entryways, and sidewalks.
    • Direct water runoff from a structure’s roof should be corrected by installing a properly maintained guttering system to divert water from pooling and/or freezing in areas with foot traffic.
    • Promptly correct and prevent roof leaks, plumbing leaks, backups, and spills.
    • Pets should be contained and not allowed to roam the premises or interact with the public.
    • Educate and train your employees about loss prevention techniques including record keeping, proper clean-up/repair, how to report and mark the hazard with cones, signs or barriers, etc.
    • Create interior and exterior maintenance checklists. Do self-inspections at regular intervals. Keep documentation of all inspections and repairs as well as follow-up from areas that you previously noted should be corrected.

    This information is meant to be a broad overview and should not be the only source you consult for evaluating your risk management needs. Adherence to the above guidelines does not ensure coverage under your policy, nor does it guarantee your risk will be accepted by our company or that your property or operations are safe, healthful, or in compliance with laws, rules, or regulations. Coverage is determined by specific policy provisions, limitations and exclusions that can only be expressed in the policy itself.

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