When it comes to slip-and-fall accidents, as a business owner, strong preventative measures are the key. You never want to see a customer have an accident due to carelessness and oversight on your part, so consider taking these steps beforehand to making your property the safest it can be for customers and employees alike.
Basically, your property needs to be safe for a “reasonable person,” that is, someone who is taking normal care to avoid danger, and is avoiding obvious obstacles. You as a business owner need to rid the property of any hidden or obvious dangers that could result in a slip and fall. The best thing you can do it to train all employees, especially managers, to be vigilant and to deal with these issues immediately. We’ll walk you through some tips address common causes of slip-and-fall injuries, and what you can do to prevent them.
Tips to Making Your Business Safer
- First, consider seasonal hazards. One of the most common times for slip-and-fall injuries is, of course, the winter, when ice and snow make pathways hazardous. So, keep all sidewalks, driveways, ramps and staircases free of slippery ice and snow. In the fall, keep these areas free of fallen leaves, which can be surprisingly slippery as well. Remember that outside areas, if they are on your property, are just as much your responsibility to keep safe as the interior areas are.
- Make sure there is no uneven flooring. A normal person isn’t looking down everywhere he or she walks, so if there is an uneven walking surface, broken tiles or other problems, he or she could easily trip and fall.
- If anything gets spilled, put up a warning sign, and clean it up quickly. This is very common in restaurants, where even a flying toddler’s drink can create a slippery hazard. It may also come in car-repair businesses, where grease puddles can be especially treacherous. More generally, this can also be a seasonal issue, as wet boots and umbrellas can create hard-to-see puddles.
- Keep your property free of clutter. Without realizing, it, employees can often place materials in passageways or, even worse, in stairwells—so train them to keep these areas clear. Not only will this make the property more appealing and easy to navigate, but it will also prevent visitors from bumping into stray boxes or other items and hurting themselves, or falling down stairs. Also make sure that nothing is obstructing an exit pathway.
- Put up warning signs beside any elevated surfaces. It may be common sense to be careful on a platform or a ladder, but remember that, as the owner, you’re used to them, whereas new visitors are not; it’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Invest in good lighting. It may sound silly, but a dark environment is much more prone to accidents, especially for older people. Besides, better lighting will improve visitors’ overall experience at your business, so it’s well worth your while. Once again, this includes exterior as well as interior lighting.
- Detroit News: Walk Like a Penguin, and Other Slip-and-Fall Advice
- Upper Merion Township: Safety Tips for Businesses
- Houston Chronicle: Personal Safety in Retail Stores