Accidents involving slips and falls are among the most common in America. Data shows that nearly 8 million annual emergency room visits are the direct result of slip-and-fall injury, accounting for more than 21% of the total cases. The most common injuries caused by slip-and-fall accidents are broken bones.
As a business owner, you are presented daily with the risk of slipping and falling. This risk applies to you, your employees, and any guests you might have on your property. So it is imperative that you take the necessary steps to prevent such accidents.
Here are the top three things every business owner should know about slip-and-fall accidents:
1. They Result in Worker’s Comp Claims
Believe it or not, slip and fall accidents are the leading cause of worker’s compensation claims. They are also the leading cause of occupational injury among people aged 55 years and older. This suggests that your workplace needs to be in tip-top shape to prevent such accidents. You will learn more about that in the next section of this post.
The take-away here is to not assume that the risk of slipping and falling is isolated only to your guests. Your workers are equally at risk. If your property presents slip-and-fall hazards, your workers are just as likely to be injured as your guests. Perhaps their risks are even higher seeing that they spend more time on your property.
2. Many Accidents Are Preventable
Many slip-and-fall accidents are the result of conditions that do not need to exist. Simply put, slip-and-fall accidents are largely preventable. According to Salt Lake City-based Alsco, one of the easiest and most effective things that business owners can do to reduce risk for both workers and guests is to use floor mats. Placed in the right locations, floor mats prevent people from slipping on water, snow and ice, chemicals, etc.
Another thing that business owners can do is make sure floor spaces are kept clear of any and all obstructions. Walkways should be completely open with a bit of extra space on either side. Tools and equipment should never be left in walkways either.
Still another thing that business owners can do is make sure all traffic areas are well lit. A lack of sufficient lighting is a contributing factor in some slip-and-fall accidents in dark environments such as warehouses and storerooms.
3. Business Owners May Be Liable
Finally, business owners need to understand that they may be held liable in the event of a slip-and-fall accident on their properties. If a personal injury attorney successfully proves that a business owner knew or should have known of the condition that caused the accident, that business owner could be required to pay hefty medical expenses along with punitive damages.
Even if an attorney cannot proof that sort of knowledge, a business owner could still be held liable if conditions on the property were noticeably unsafe and the business owner took no steps to remedy the issues. In fact, such a situation would be considered even more serious because it would be a demonstration of obvious negligence from the business owner’s perspective.
Whether a business owner deploys floor mats or completely redesigns open space to clear walkways, it is necessary to take every reasonable step to eliminate the risk of slip-and-fall accidents. It is necessary for the safety of guests and workers; it is necessary for the health of the business. It only takes one accident to cause a lot of harm all the way around, with all the negative implications that these eventually entail.