As a business owner, the onus is on you to ensure that your consumers are safe while on your property. You are the owner of the establishment; your customers are your guests. You have a legal and moral responsibility to ensure that as much care as possible is taken to remove dangers from your premises.
There are dangers all year that employers must be aware of, but the winter season adds a whole new layer of risk factors that all managers must take into consideration. Icy walkways, freezing water, melting snow, slippery floors and uneven carpets can quickly result in someone falling. Injuries can range from a scrape or bruise, to more severe and even life-threatening conditions. To prevent unnecessary accidents from occurring, company owners should:
1. Shovel the Walkway
Walkways leading up to the main doors should be cleared of snow every time the white stuff falls. Shoveling the snow from your walkways will make it much easier to tread on them. While accidents are not always preventable, the risk of slips and falls can be greatly reduced if you keep your venue free of snow hazards.
2. De-Ice Your Sidewalks
Ice can build up pretty quickly, especially when the temperatures fluctuate and the moisture melts, then freezes again. Salt, sand, or de-icers will help remove the slippery surface, so pedestrians will have traction under their feet.
3. Mop Up Water
As people enter your building, the snowy residue on their footwear will melt, creating puddles of water around the store. Owners should mop the wet areas frequently to help keep them clear and slip free.
4. Put Warning Signs Up
In between clean-ups, put signs up where they are visible to warn your guests that the floor in that area is slippery. The signage will add additional alerts for your pedestrians to take care while moving around.
5. Using Carpeting
Some company owners lay carpeting down at the entrance to absorb the excess moisture and provide a grip to the surface. If you have rugs at your doorway, they must have anti-slip undersides and be lying flat. Any ripples or folds can be a tripping hazard.
Carpets can help with moisture, but they will not completely absorb all the water, especially during high traffic, warm days. Employers must still be vigilant in maintaining a clean area to keep others safe.
6. Keep Entranceways Clear
Some owners put shovels, sanding pails and containers in the building openings so that they are nearby when needed. But these tools can be dangerous to people walking through the area. If they are knocked over, or in the immediate treading area, individuals can easily trip over them.
Commercial property owners are responsible for keeping a clear, accessible portal to their business at all times during public hours or risk legal complications.
7. Keep Parking Lots Clear
Parking lots are a little more difficult to maintain, especially if they are shared with other business owners. During heavy snowfalls, owners should clear snow piles so that it is easier for drivers to get into the lot. A clean parkade will also help protect clientele from trips and falls.
Most personal injury claims are the direct fault of negligent company proprietors. Business owners have a legal and moral obligation to keep their entrances clean and free of hazards so guests coming to their premises will be safe from slips and falls. While some accidents cannot be avoided, most commercial injuries can be by taking the proper precautions to remove all dangers from public areas. If you are subjected to a personal injury lawsuit, your immediate next step is to contact a professional personal injury lawyer for advice and assistance.