As one of the most popular winter holidays quickly approaches, so do winter snow and ice storms in many areas. While Santa is a veteran of cold weather, unseen obstacles at your business can put him at risk of slipping and falling. Here are a few steps you need to take to protect your customers from slip-and-fall accidents. Following these steps will keep you off Santa's naughty list and from hiring a slip-and-fall lawyer.
Inspect Your Premises
As a business owner, you are responsible for the inside and outside of your premises. Your property includes your sidewalks, parking lots, and other areas your customers frequent. Create a routine where you or someone you trust walks through these areas at least weekly.
1. Identify The Dangers
When inspecting your premises look for potential dangers that may cause problems for pedestrians or customers. For example, concrete can shift and move over time. An uneven concrete block in your sidewalk that has dropped may cause a customer to catch their toe and fall.
Other potential dangers on your property may include:
- Standing water that could freeze
- Clogged drains
- Melting snow piles
- Poor lighting in icy areas
Wet areas can be potentially tricky. While they may not present a problem in the middle of the day when the sun is shining, they can quickly become black ice when the temperature drops.
2. Address/Repair The Hazards
Addressing or repairing the hazards you find as quickly as possible is the right thing to do. Your repairs will ensure your property is safe for everyone in and around your business. These repairs will protect you from potential slip-and-fall lawsuits in the future.
If you ever have to defend a slip-and-fall lawsuit, the court may ask you what you did to address the hazard. Showing that you repaired or addressed the danger as soon as you become aware of it can help to minimize your liability.
3. Have A Plan
Unfortunately, ice and snow do not always fall or form during business hours. Overnight ice and snow storms can create significant hazards before you arrive at work.
Make a plan on what to do in the case of bad weather, and then ensure your staff is aware of the program. Your plan may be simple. For example, ensure the salt is available to be put down or have a contract with a snow removal company to clear your parking lot. Both efforts can help prevent slips and falls and keep your staff, customers, and Santa safe.
Contact a slip-and-fall lawyer near you to learn more.