Slips, trips and falls are a common occurrence, resulting in thousands of injuries to customers and employees every year. While some falls are caused by people not paying attention, in many liability cases business owners are held legally responsible for accidents.
Regardless of the severity of the injuries, a slip and fall accident can have significant financial repercussions for your business. Medical costs, deductibles and attorneys’ fees can be expensive. Your business could also experience a loss of productivity if your employees are injured and have to take time off from work.
If a customer or employee is injured on your property, will your insurance cover the cost of their injuries and a lawsuit?
Before an accident happens, make sure your policy has you covered and try some of these tips to prevent an accident in the first place.
Safety Tips: How to Prevent a Slip & Fall Accident
1. Look Out for Potential Safety Hazards
The best way to protect your employees and visitors is to prevent accidents from happening. The first step is understanding what causes slip and falls. Many everyday situations can cause someone to lose traction while walking, so you need to be able to identify hazards before an accident occurs.
Potential hazards include:
- Wet or greasy floors
- Dry floors with wood dust or powder
- Uneven walking surfaces
- Polished or freshly waxed floors
- Loose flooring, carpeting or mats
- Electrical cords or cables
- Weather hazards — rain, sleet, ice, snow, hail, frost
- Wet leaves or pine needles
Maintaining good housekeeping practices can help you avoid many potential hazards, such as spills or dusty floors. You can plan ahead to avoid accidents by scheduling floors to be waxed and polished during periods with low foot traffic. Putting up proper signage to warn people about wet floors and surfaces will also help cut down on incidents.
You should try to keep obstacles, such as cords, out of walkways so that employees and visitors do not trip over them. Adding safety measures like handrails, non-skid throw rugs and proper lighting will also cut down on the number of accidents.
Finally, be sure to promote safe behaviors. While you cannot control customers’ behaviors, you can encourage your employees to wear proper shoes on the work site and exercise caution when there are potential hazards present.
You should survey your work environment frequently to check for potential issues and prevent accidents before they occur.
2. Protect Your Employees
Being proactive about hazards will help you keep your employees and customers safe from falls. However, it is equally important to be prepared for when accidents do happen.
Workers’ compensation insurance will help protect your business and your employees in the event of a slip and fall. In fact, it is so important that it is required by law in almost every state.
Workers’ compensation helps provide benefits for employees who are injured on the worksite. It enables employees to recover a portion of their lost wages while they are healing from a work-related illness or injury.
Employers also benefit from a robust workers’ compensation policy. It protects them from being sued by employees for work-related injuries or lost wages. Additionally, it helps business owners avoid fines and penalties for failing to provide state-mandated insurance to their staff.
Contact Webb Insurance to get a free workers’ compensation insurance quote with no obligation to purchase.
3. Know Your Liability
While workers’ compensation insurance is essential for businesses, it does not apply to all incidents. For example, what do you do if a customer slips on your property?
Your first priority after an accident should always be to take care of the injured party. Express your concern and offer medical care right away. Try to keep a first aid kit accessible at all times, and make sure your employees know where it’s located so they can respond promptly if someone is hurt.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, customers who were treated with compassion after a fall were less likely to sue.
If you are found liable for a slip and fall, make sure your commercial insurance includes business liability insurance to cover customer and non-employee claims. A typical general liability insurance policy will help cover medical expenses and legal fees for incidents involving a third party who is not an employee of your business.
A business umbrella policy can give you an additional level of protection in case the liability exposure goes beyond the limits of your base policy.
Finding the right policy can provide your business with both general liability insurance and property insurance, guaranteeing that there are no gaps in coverage.
4. Have a Safety Plan in Place
Despite your best efforts, accidents will still happen. Having a plan in place for slip and falls can help you minimize injuries and your liability for the incident.
In the event your business is sued over a slip and fall, keeping detailed records can reduce your liability risk by providing evidence that you took your responsibility seriously and made reasonable efforts to prevent harm to others.
You should have a slip and fall incident report form prepared. In the report, keep track of the following:
- Date, time, and location
- Summary of the incident, including what the person was doing right before the fall
- Photos of the location of the fall
- Names, addresses and phone numbers of any witnesses
- Any conditions that may have contributed, such as a wet floor or patch of ice, as well as documentation of attempts to address the issue, such as signage or a floor mat
- Space to record relevant details, including:
- What kind of footwear the person was wearing
- Whether they were using a device like a cane or walker
- Were they wearing eyeglasses
Train your employees to complete the form in case an incident occurs while you are away. If a slip and fall does occur, don’t hesitate to report the incident to your insurance company and provide documentation, such as a copy of the incident report and photos.
Get the Business Insurance You Need at Webb Insurance
Preventing hazards and preparing a plan for accidents will help you keep your footing in the event of a slip and fall.
Webb Insurance can help you determine if your policies provide your business and employees with sufficient protection from accidents. We can provide coverage that is tailored to your unique needs and fully compliant with state law.
Protect your business and your employees with Webb Insurance in St. Charles.