Slip and fall injuries are among the most prevalent of all personal injury accidents in the United States. There are times when someone’s trip and fall is due to nothing more than sheer clumsiness on their part, but there are other times when hazards that aren’t addressed are to blame.
If you want to limit the potential that someone will slip and fall on your property and find you negligent and responsible for paying for their injuries, it is important to take these six steps to eliminate any potential tripping situations.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics maintains that slip and fall accidents account for a big chunk of fatal accidents in the workplace and only come in second to transportation deaths.
Twenty-five percent of injury claims are slip and fall claims. Those accidents translate into over 95 million days of work lost annually, which accounts for 65 percent of all lost days. If you own a business, not only do you want to keep conditions safe for customers, but it is also imperative that you limit slip and fall risks to your employees. To do this, practice these six tips.
#1. Focus on keeping things clean
One of the biggest reasons that people slip and fall is due to dirty or wet conditions. To eliminate slip and fall hazards, make sure to keep things clean and to allocate someone to mop things up, make sure surfaces are not slick, and to address any defects in the surfaces of things like bathrooms and backrooms.
It isn’t enough to make everyone aware and on the lookout. Make someone specifically responsible for housekeeping, so that things don’t get shirked or overlooked because no one feels responsible.
#2. Always address slippery and wet conditions
If you know that a drain leaks or that water pools in a specific area, make sure that the area is cleaned up immediately. Most slip and fall accidents are due to wet and slippery surfaces. If it rains outside, make sure that you take care of sidewalks, parking lots and floors so that they aren’t a hazard.
If you live in a region where there is cold and ice, then you will want to make sure to keep a very close eye on the water that can freeze and become slick, which is an additional hazard that you will want to address immediately by keeping salt on hand.
#3. Don’t make your place of business an obstacle course
Make sure that you aren’t unwittingly creating obstacles for your customers and employees. Don’t leave boxes and materials all over the place. Before you open for business, do a walk through to make sure that things are up off of the floor.
You can’t expect people to pay attention to everything that is under their feet. If you don’t pick things up, then that is considered a form of negligence and will make you liable if someone trips and falls over it, no matter how small the object is. Don’t just leave things lying around; clean it up.
#4. Light it up
If people can’t see where they are going, they are more likely to trip over things, which is why it is important to provide adequate lighting. Things like parking lots and sidewalks should be well lit. If someone can’t see what is underfoot due to diminished lighting conditions, then that can make you liable if they end up getting injured.
#5. Require proper shoes
Make sure that shoes are a dress code item for employees. Not wearing the right type of shoe or wearing shoes that are prone to slip and fall accidents like flip-flops or other shoes without traction will increase the likelihood that an employee will slip and fall.
Shoes that have laces can be a slip hazard if they aren’t tied correctly. You might not be able to control the type of shoe that your customers wear, but you can make it a condition of your workplace environment for your employees.
#6. Control risky behaviors
Make it a policy to control people’s behaviors by posting signs that say no running and by limiting access to those places where, if people go, may be problematic. If you know the back room’s flooring is slippery, make signs to keep customers out.
The more that you warn people of inherent risks associated with their behavior, the more it puts the liability to be careful back on them and can save you from being deemed negligent someone does fall.
If you run a business or workplace, it is important that you take great strides to limit hazards that can lead to slip and fall accidents, so that you aren’t left paying for someone elses’s injuries.