How to Prevent Slip and Fall Accidents
A slip and fall accident may be amusing in slapstick comedy, but in reality, it’s no joke. Slips and falls account for a significant number of injuries to customers and employees every year.
The causes of slip and fall accidents are varied, ranging from wet or greasy floors, clutter and debris, to uneven surfaces, improper cleaning, lack of hazard identification and, in a small number of cases, fraud. And yet, slips and falls are the most preventable accidents to occur in the workplace.
The financial impact of a slip and fall accident can range from minor inconvenience to massive liability, depending on the circumstances. Employers also suffer a loss of productivity when employees are injured and off the clock.
Protecting Your Business (and Your Employees) From Slip and Fall Accidents
Adequate general liability insurance (a minimum of $1 million) can help cover customer and non-employee claims as a result of slip and fall accidents. In addition, workers’ compensation insurance can help protect employees. For coverage beyond the first $1 million, consider adding an umbrella policy for an extra measure of protection if the liability exposure exceeds the limits of the base policy.
Preventing Accidents Before They Happen
Effective slip and fall accident prevention methods go beyond just clearing away clutter or placing a sign near a slippery floor. Establishing a program that addresses prevention, as well as employee response, will help reduce accidents and provide better care if someone does get injured.
Even if you are fully insured against slip and fall accidents there are always “hidden costs” that come with every claim, like lost time, wages, and the reputation of your business. Ensure you are taking adequate measures to protect your customers and employees from these accidents.
To reduce the incidence of slip and fall accidents at your business, as well as protect yourself in the event of a claim, follow these helpful tips:
- Conduct a daily safety survey to look for common culprits, such as wet or greasy floors, loose mats, torn carpeting, bad lighting, clutter, cables or wires, and uneven floors.
- Immediately attend to any problems by putting up warning signs and taking steps to quickly eliminate the hazard.
- Maintain all floors and walkways on a consistent basis, using the recommended cleaning products and methods. Fix all uneven surfaces if possible by recoating or leveling the floor or illuminate (or otherwise identify) areas that can’t easily be leveled.
- Train your employees in slip and fall safety and establish guidelines on how employees should report problems and respond to customer injuries or hazardous situations. Install secure handrails near all stairs and balconies.
- Take care of outdoor areas, including sidewalks and parking lots. Potholes, snow, and ice all create potential problems. If necessary, subcontract snow and ice removal to make sure it’s handled promptly.
- Document all your efforts by keeping records of your daily safety inspections, maintenance work, and any slip and fall accidents and their resolution.
Insurance coverage is a cost of doing business and will offer protection when you need it. However, preventing accidents before they occur will help keep your insurance premiums lower and your business up and running more smoothly.
Dan Tharp is licensed in all states (except Alaska & Hawaii) and is the Vice President of Business Insurance Lines for Pearl Insurance. Dan has been assisting business owners in protecting their operations, customers, and employees for over 30 years. For questions regarding this blog post or any other insurance matter, he can be reached via phone at 800.447.4982 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.