Keep Your Premises Accident Free

Keep Your Premises Accident Free bb3 Sep 9, 2011

By Staff writer State Farm™ Employee

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Injuries can occur both inside and outside your business. What's more, customer and visitor injuries on your property may result in lawsuits.

Parking lots, stairs, merchandise displays, floors, spills, maintenance, loading and docking areas, snow and ice, playground equipment, trampolines, etc. are some of the causes and places where injuries may occur. While proper maintenance of walkways and parking areas can help to reduce slips and falls, there are other areas that should be considered.

Common Hazards

Slips and falls are often the result of improper floor finishes, uneven surfaces, debris on surfaces, inadequate lighting, missing handrails, poor maintenance, or adverse weather conditions. Slips and falls can result in serious injuries. To reduce the potential for slips and falls, you will want to give attention to the following:

  • Repair potholes in parking areas promptly.
  • Clean up spills and use cones or wet floor signs if the area must be mopped during business hours. Check all floors periodically to identify spills and make floor checks more frequent during heavy traffic times.
  • Repair or replace torn carpets.
  • Repair or replace loose or missing floor tiles. Even small irregularities can be enough to cause trips!
  • Develop a thorough snow and ice removal plan for sidewalks and parking areas.
  • Consider using non-slip surfaces on stairs.
  • Take special note of stairs that appear too steep. Check with contractors who may be familiar with local building codes.
  • Install handrails on stairs and secure them firmly.
  • Install landings at the top of staircases that have doors leading directly onto them.
  • Maintain adequate lighting in parking areas, on sidewalks, and in the interior of the building.
  • Designate pedestrian crossing areas in parking lots and clearly identify speed bumps as well as curbs.
  • Keep extension cords away from customer traffic areas and secure them properly.

A separate property checklist has been included at the end of this booklet to help you identify some slip and fall exposures on your premises.

Other Premises Liability Hazards

Other causes of customer injuries can include improper storage of goods, lack of adequate housekeeping, chemicals, and attractive nuisances. Some items to consider to help reduce the potential for injuries include:

  • Schedule maintenance for after business hours if possible.
  • Store all cleaning agents and chemicals in locked cabinets.
  • Minimize electrical hazards such as extension cords and portable heaters. Also, use childproof outlets and ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) in bathrooms.
  • Keep aisles clear and avoid placing large, heavy items on high shelves.
  • Make sure merchandise displays are stable and cannot be easily pulled over by customers.
  • See that handicap accessible areas meet national accessibility guidelines.
  • Use latching gates and restrict access to attractive nuisances such as pools, trampolines, and playgrounds. Children often want to investigate these potentially dangerous items.
  • Maintain playground equipment and use shock-absorbent surfaces underneath to help reduce the severity of injuries from falls off of the equipment. Securely anchor equipment to the ground.
  • Restrict access to loading and docking areas to employees only.
  • Trim trees regularly to avoid falling limbs.

In addition, we recommend that you also develop a thorough accident-reporting procedure ahead of time and train all employees and managers how to use it.

Also Consider...

  • Having a manager on duty whenever possible.
  • Posting emergency phone numbers.
  • Keeping first aid kits handy and ready for use.
  • Investigating all accidents.
  • Keeping a record of all accidents.

Accident reports should be written to aid with documentation and should include who was injured, dates, circumstances, and observations. Accident reports should be reviewed by management.

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Do you keep track of hazards on your property?
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