How a Small Business Can Prevent Slip and Fall Claims
As a small business owner, even the most minor issue can be a huge risk for the company. When someone does suffer an injury, a premise liability case may be an option for the victim. Sometimes, a premise liability accident is referred to as a “slip and fall” accident because, often, slipping and falling is what causes the injury to the victim. A slip and fall injury can happen on any property for a multiplicity of reasons and in every type of business: in an office, mall, restaurant, shopping center, grocery store, etc.
While every small business wants the most for their employees and those who visit their establishment, they also have to protect their assets. A personal injury lawyer is a necessary solution to protecting your small business when you have a personal injury lawsuit. We talked to personal injury lawyer, Keith Devries in New York about legal concerns a small business owner should be aware of and how to prevent a lawsuit. He gave us a few insightful preventative solutions to prevent slip and fall claims at any business.
6 Steps to Prevent Slip and Fall Claims
1.Train All Employees
Employee training is vital to reducing a company’s slip and fall loss exposure. All employees who are likely to be around third parties on your premises should be trained about what to do should someone suffer a slip or fall. Include the policy in every new employee orientation and the company handbook. Prepare everyone and know what to do, and the better the situation will turn out. Depending on the size and nature of your business, you may want to have employees on each work shift trained by qualified Red Cross instructors to provide first aid and CPR. Someone should be designated to keep first aid kits stocked and accessible.
2. Provide Assistance
If an accident were to happen, care and support should always be made available to the injured person even if that means calling an ambulance. Individuals who feel treated callously or indifferently are more likely to sue after an accident. The medical care ad emergency services such as an ambulance may be costly, but will show your employees you care and save you money in the long run.
3.Eliminate Potential Hazards
Elimination of slip and fall hazards should be a routinely scheduled. Use a checklist for this. “A little prevention on the front end can save a small business a great deal of time and money should an accident occur on their property,” says Devries.
Indoor areas hazard list:
- Lighting: All areas should be adequately lit, including hallways and stairs.
- Exits: Exits should be well marked, well lit and clear of any obstacles.
- Stairs: Handrails, steps, and landings should be in good condition. Construct stairs to a uniform height and width.
- Carpeting: Carpeting should be tight and smooth.
- Floors: Mark any changes in floor level.
- Doormats: Doormats or rugs should be flat, slip-resistant, cleaned and checked regularly in bad weather.
- Spills: There should be an effective procedure to assure that all spills are immediately cleaned up.
Outdoor area hazard checklist:
- Walkways: Walkways should be kept in good condition.
- Lighting: Lighting should be adequate.
- Parking lot: Repair any potholes, cracks or uneven areas.
- Ice and snow: There should be an effective procedure for assuring ice and snow removal.
- Caution signs or barriers should be used to keep people away from uneven areas or outdoor hazards.
Investigate any accident or workplace injury-related event immediately. The goal of investigations is to identify the cause of the accident or injury rather than assign blame and to correct any hazards or other problems found.
Once a year, supervisors should review all incidents from the prior year to see whether there are any patterns in the accidents and, if so, how to prevent the problem happening again in the future. Each year, evaluate how each case went and where improvement could be.
6.Hire an Attorney
Having a knowledgeable attorney with the ability to put everything into proper perspective is essential to getting the best result out of a slip and fall case. An accident lawyer who is prepared to assist you with any slip and fall or premise liability case and make sure you are taking the correct route.
Defending Slip and Fall Claims
If you are a small business owner and are facing a slip and fall claim, you should contact an attorney. Sometimes, even with prevention, an accident still happens; there is no such thing as complete immunity from a lawsuit.
However, following the six steps discussed above should reduce the potential for a suit, as well as decrease the value of any lawsuit that you do face. For additional information, visit the Web site of the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.