People slipping and falling may seem like harmless slapstick comedy to some. But if a slip-and-fall accident occurs inside your business or elsewhere on your commercial property, it certainly is no laughing matter. Many accidents involving slips and falls can result in significant injuries to the victims (especially elderly people), and you as the owner of the business are liable for the cost of the medical care needed to address those injuries. This in turn often means huge out-of-pocket costs to cover insurance deductibles as well as a substantial jump in your business insurance (or workers’ compensation) premiums.
That’s why it is essential to do everything you can to prevent slip and fall accidents and the claims that result from them. Here are eight suggestions, starting with the most obvious one:
- Place rubber entrance mats at all points of entry. This may be the most important preventative measure you can take. Rubber entrance mats can help scrape and trap dirt and moisture from footwear so that it isn’t tracked onto your floors – where it can be a slip-and-fall hazard.
- Clean up any spills immediately. Many a slip-and-fall accident took place shortly after a small amount of liquid was spilled but not cleaned up promptly. And placing a “Wet Floor” sign and forgetting about it isn’t sufficient.
- If a slip and fall does occur, offer whatever assistance you can. Check on the victim (personally if possible) and see if he or she is hurt. Find out exactly what happened from the victim as well as any witnesses. Offer to call an ambulance if necessary. Apologize profusely. (It’s also important to train your employees to react properly to a slip-and-fall accident.)
- Avoid or address slippery surfaces. Hard surfaces like tile, marble, or terrazzo shouldn’t be present near entryways because they can become slippery with minimal moisture. If you cannot replace the materials with something that has more traction, definitely cover them with one or more rubber entrance mats.
- Be wary of steps and stairs. A large number of slip-and-fall accidents take place in areas which have even one or two steps – either up to a front door or down into a seating area. It is imperative that these spots are well-marked, equipped with sturdy handrails, and covered with a surface that provides traction.
- Be wary of cluttered or uneven walkways. Interior aisles with too many merchandise or displays, exterior walkways that are buckling or cracking, and even bunched-up carpet or mats are slips and falls waiting to happen.
- Keep an eye out for tree roots that damage sidewalks. Since this happens over time, you may not notice a sidewalk that has become uneven due to a tree root until someone trips over it. Mark these areas as hazardous for pedestrians, and then plan to have the tree root removed and/or the sidewalk repaired.
- Consider surveillance cameras. Not only will video cameras help safeguard your business against theft and vandalism, but they’ll also discourage unscrupulous individuals from staging a slip-and-fall accident in order to file a fraudulent insurance claim and collect the payout.
Utilizing rubber entrance mats is smart, but it’s not the only step you can take to minimize the chances of having a slip-and-fall accident claim filed against your business. So be proactive in protecting your business from these types of mishaps – and contact Ultimate Mats for help in accomplishing this goal.