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.
By Victor Imgarten of Clean Sweep Chimney Service
I founded Clean Sweep Chimney Service in 1977 and we are still proud to be family owned with the first and only owner working in the field to ensure the best service the industry has to offer. Over the years, I have seen great value in customer reviews. We often get service calls based on the reputation that we have developed in real life and online. People trust their neighbors when they take the time to write a review on Yelp, Facebook or Google. We would like to share with other business owners what we have learned over the years and how important our customers and their feedback are to us.
Online reviews of small businesses have changed the way your customers are discovering services and making purchasing decisions. If your company is who your customers say it is, then these online reviews play a crucial part in giving them that voice. It’s so important to start managing online reviews well and learn how to not only keep them coming in but how to respond to them.
Online reviews often act as short and timely customer testimonials. Reviews can help with search engine rankings and work to establish trust and brand recognition for your company. You need to be managing online reviews for your business so that you can be seen and trusted.
Here are 4 Beginner Steps for Managing Online Reviews
1.Make all Employees Ambassadors
All your employees should be ambassadors for customer reviews! Ask your employees to tell clients to leave a review of their work. Most satisfied customers won’t take the time to post a review unless you specifically ask them to. This not only lets the client know you care about the quality of your work and is willing to have your customer share their opinion publicly, but it creates a connection to your customer. In turn, you will hopefully get more reviews, honest feedback and returning customers.
2. Make the Process Simple
Make it easy by signing up for an online service that automatically emails your customers to request they submit a review. Or simply let your customers know you are on Yelp or remind them that you have profiles on Google and Facebook, where they can leave a review. This simple technique has proven to quickly increase the number of reviews you can generate. These services can link to your customer database so you know the reviews are from your actual clients and customers.
3. Respond to All Reviews, Even the Negative Ones
Create a policy for responding to negative reviews with everyone in your company and designate one person to act as the spokesperson in these situations. When a negative review appears, respond in a timely fashion. Acknowledge their dissatisfaction publicly and describe how you plan to resolve the cause of it and that you will contact them directly. Follow up by directly reaching out to the concerned customer.
Customers will naturally gravitate to businesses that display a human element and interaction.
4. Thank Your Reviewers
Publicly thank anyone who gives you a review. This shows your customers that you appreciate them and are noticing their feedback. This is actually one of the most important steps to getting a customer to return.
As a service oriented company, we at Clean Sweep St. Louis love getting feedback from customers and have found managing online reviews to be very significant for us. We have implemented these four steps at Clean Sweep with our team. We hope what has worked for us will also help you!
About Clean Sweep Services: Clean Sweep continues to lead the way in the field of chimney safety. We are proud of our past and are no strangers to being first and leading the way for the industry and homeowners. We were first in the state to offer internal video chimney inspections, the first to offer European chimney lining and sweeping methods and the first to offer power sweeping of chimney systems. We continue to look for new and innovative products and services to improve and simplify our customer’s lives and make your home and the earth a safer and more efficient place for all.
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