Slip and fall accidents are very common in the courts, and thousands are processed each and every year in the United States. Even more, slip and fall cases are fodder for the courts around the world. In some cases, they’re even the reason that a small business may have to close their doors and pack up for good.
While you may feel somewhat helpless as a business owner, since you obviously have to clean your floors, there are few things that you can do. For many businesses, the simple answer is to use basic ‘Wet Floor’ signs that will let customers know that they could be in danger.
However, what are businesses to do if a customer or employee slips on a wet floor or otherwise hurts themselves in their space? The answers aren’t always as simple as they seem, but there are ways you can protect yourself.
Use this guide to make sure that you and your business is covered in case anyone gets hurt in your office or retail space. Otherwise you could end up having to close your doors or start all over again with very little money.
Clean When Closed
It might sound really obvious to a lot of small business owners, but it’s obviously your best bet to do your major cleaning when people aren’t working in your office or shopping in your retail store. Even if you do your cleaning yourself because you run a small store, do it when you’re closed in the morning or evening.
That way you don’t have to worry about anybody slipping or falling that doesn’t work for your company. You can also block off the area if it’s a typically high volume space so nobody can walk on it.
Even if you do most of your cleaning when your office or store is closed, you still need to take other steps to protect yourself.
Always Use Signage
Doing as much of your cleaning as you can when there’s nobody around is always a good idea, whether you do the cleaning yourself or employ a janitor or entire crew. The fewer people around during the cleaning process the less likely you are to have a problem or an injury each time you clean.
However, even if you do your cleaning at a low traffic time, you may still have employees coming in and out or customers moving around in your store. There are also going to be times when you’re forced to do some cleaning in order to make the environment safe again. For example, an employee may spill a cup of coffee in the lobby or a customer could drop something in your retail store.
In those cases, it is important to use signage that lets employees and customers know that the floors are wet or that they could be a potential slipping hazard. What’s even more important than simply using the signs is making sure that they’re actually in the right place though.
When you’re playing ‘Wet Floor’ signs, make sure they’re clearly visible from any point where somebody might enter the area. In a large space like a building lobby, that can require more than one or two signs.
You’ll also want to place signs toward the center of the wet area since somebody walking through may have their vision focused on where they are going – not right in front of them. When it comes to potential slip and fall accidents, you don’t want to take any risks.
If you do cut corners with signage you could be out a lot of money if a lawsuit comes across your desk.
Are You Recording?
One of the things your attorney is likely going to ask you if you are ever brought into court because of a slip and fall case is simple: Were you recording when the accident happened? That’s right – many employers actually record the area where cleaning is to happen, though you won’t be doing this only when you’re cleaning if your smart.
The same security cameras that you use – or should be using – can help to make sure that you are covered if anybody is ever injured on your property. Simply having those cameras recording the fact that you had signs out can keep a complaint from going to court or costing you any money at all.
Just make sure that the cameras can see your signs when you’re cleaning floors or a spill has occurred.