Many small-business liability insurance claims can be prevented with careful planning and common-sense strategies. And none are more preventable than slip and fall accidents, the most common type of claim. With a mind set of “safety first,” you can help avoid most accidents before they happen.
Use this safety checklist to identify – and avoid – potential business insurance liability claims.
- Inspect all interior and exterior lighting on a routine basis, and replace burned-out light bulbs. Sufficient lighting can help prevent falls and provide a more secure environment for everyone.
- Conduct monthly tests on your emergency lighting system and repair as needed. You never know when you might lose power.
Spills and wet floors
- Make sure spills are cleaned up immediately.
- In the case of large spills, have an employee stand near the affected area until the spill has been completely cleared.
- Display a yellow “Wet Floor” sign on freshly mopped floors until they are dry. It’s also a good idea to display the sign during periods of rain or snow when entrances are wetter than normal.
- Use floor mats at entrances and other areas that are often wet or slippery.
- Floor mats also prevent slips and falls in such areas as restaurant kitchens and by self-serve drink dispensers and salad bars.
- Be sure that all grease spills are cleaned up immediately.
Outdoor walkways and parking lots
- Conduct daily checks on all parking lots and exterior walkways to ensure a smooth and safe path.
- Look closely for broken glass or other hazardous debris, and remove.
- Repair potholes, large cracks or uneven pavement areas.
- Use contrasting paint to mark wheel stops in parking lots to avoid trips and falls.
- Clear all snow and ice promptly from walkways and parking lots, and repeat as necessary.
- Secure handrails and steps on all stairways.
- Make sure stairs are adequately lighted from above, and single steps or uneven surfaces illuminated so they can be easily seen. Lighted steps can help in particularly dark areas.
- Steps should have a non-skid surface, or be equipped with abrasive strips for sure footing.
- Avoid storing anything on the steps or landing.
Floors and carpet
- Routinely inspect all carpeted areas, walkway mats, tiles and wood for loose, torn or damaged sections. Repair or replace immediately.
- Changes in floor elevation, such as a slight step down, should be clearly indicated.
- Doormats need to be slip resistant and lay flat. Replace soggy mats frequently in wet or snowy weather.
- Make sure any carpeted areas are stretched tight with no humps or lose edges.
Other hazards to avoid
- Avoid using extension cords in public areas.
- Place all trash in proper containers, and make sure trash cans are emptied frequently so as not to overflow.
- Check refrigerators and restrooms hourly for water leaking on the floor.
By looking out for these accidents before they happen, you can avoid potential claims against your commercial liability insurance coverage.