For the business owner, and especially the small business owner, a slip and fall accident is serious. Slip and fall accidents are among the most common injuries in workplaces and can lead to fractured bones, brain injuries, and even fatalities. In many cases, they can also lead to lawsuits, especially if your customers or employees are the ones injured. At this time of year, slip and fall accidents are especially common because of weather. There are several things that business owners can do to help prevent such accidents:
1) Look for common problems of slip and fall and trip and fall accidents. Slippery surfaces, spills, weather problems, loose mats or carpeting, poor visibility, bad lighting, clutter, cables or wires, and uneven floors can all cause slips. When you notice these hazards in the workplace, remove the problem at once or at least put up signs warning others of the problem. For example, you might not be able to correct a leaky pipe that is causing a puddle on the floor right away, but do make sure that there is a visible “caution” sign showing the danger.
2) Regularly walk through your workplace, looking for potential problem areas. Unless you do this, it’s easy to overlook potential dangers.
3) Do regular maintenance on flooring and outdoor walking surfaces. Recoating flooring and correcting any unevenness can help ensure that falls are at a minimum.
4) Set some ground rules for employees. Publish a manual, instructing employees how to stay safe in the workplace. Suggest practical shoes and establish guidelines for how employees should deal with dangerous situations. For example, you may wish to stipulate that employees keep their workplace clear or ask management to reach items in tall places.
5) Keep good documentation of your efforts. Keep written records of your walk-throughs of the workplace, of the maintenance work you do on your business, and the employee manual you have. If you do face problems, showing your careful attempts to prevent injury will be very useful.
6) Get employees to report potential problems to you. Have a formal system whereby employees can report potential problems to you without fear of retribution.
7) Get excellent liability insurance – and hope you never need to use it. Hopefully, you will never need to have liability coverage. If you do need it, though, it is helpful if you have excellent coverage that really protects you.