Slip-and-fall accidents are among the leading causes of injury on both commercial and residential properties. In fact, based on a statistic gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), out of nearly one million Americans who suffer from injuries resulting from slip-and-fall, about 17,000 of them die.
The changing weather does not change premises and businesses owners’ liability. Therefore, in an aim to help property owners and businesses as well, a slip-and-fall accident attorney, serving greater Los Angeles, reminded that great housekeeping and proper maintenance during this time is very important to prevent big losses as a result of slip-and-fall claims.
In addition, he also shared some tips below on how property owners and businesses could prepare for the winter season to prevent slip-and-fall accidents.
Although the weather can impact both outdoors and indoors, obviously, outdoors are the most affected of the. Also, most slip-and-fall accidents commonly occur outdoors. Therefore, start by clearing out hazards outside of your home or your business establishment. It pays to be prepared in advance. Be sure that you are well prepared to conduct a snow removal ahead of time so that the task can be done quickly as possible. Surfaces like outdoor steps, sidewalks, driveways and parking lots should always be free from ice and snow.
Moreover, several outdoor spots like the driveways and parking areas have a blacktop, wherein chances of slip-and-fall accidents are at a higher risk since the ice tends to blend with the surface’s dark color. Thus, it is always advisable to have a bag of sand to take care of the ice immediately while performing maintenance.
During extreme weathers, since it is more difficult for people to walk on blacktops, safety cones and signs must be provided.
Also, since handrails help people to balance when entering or leaving a premise, it is important to give them a good repair all year round.
During the humid season, lighting is likewise important to brighten up the outdoor areas to make it easier for people to see potential hazards. Therefore, it is best to build a proper lighting with a strong structure particularly in icy areas outdoors.
Regardless of how clean and organized your outdoor area is, ice and snow will still be traced into the entrance ways or door ways of your property or business establishment. When the ice or snow melts, it will then create water hazard. Clean the water in such areas as soon as possible since it is the part of the indoor wherein there is heavy foot traffic.
Place extra floor mats near entrance or door ways to encourage visitors to wipe their feet. Aside from preventing slip-and-fall accidents, the good thing about placing door mats is that it can also prevent water from getting in between the cracks of the floor which can eventually lead to damage.
In business establishments, it is always important to put up safety cones to mark possible hazards within the premises.
After-snow preventive measure
Even if you have prepared for the winter season ahead of time, you are likely to encounter new possible hazards as problems start to develop in some areas after the first snow. Make it a habit to check on the premises’ walking surfaces to identify new threats and areas that need to be repaired or salted more often.
Inspect surfaces by shuffling around rather than walking, point your feet out and take very slow little steps to carefully check for black ice, uneven surfaces and unsalted areas. Ice can often hide under the snow so you have to locate those risky areas, remember to mark those spots first before fixing it.
Wear your protective gear
Prevention is always better than cure. If you are a business owner, advise your employees to wear shoes that provide traction like slip resistant shoes or boots. Furthermore, it would also help if you would post information about the proper way to fall around your premise. As much as possible, avoid falling on your knees or wrists. Also, if you could try hard to fall on your side, do it to protect the limb.
Remember, a bit of preventive efforts can help reduce the risk of slip-and-fall accidents on your property. Being well prepared ahead of time really pays a lot. Have a safe winter season.