Winter is approaching fast and the shift in the weather can make any small business owner cringe. One of the leading causes of injury for commercial businesses is slip and fall accidents. Snow and ice become a problem because of the weather change and your business is at risk of a potential lawsuit during this time more than ever. However, practicing good maintenance and housekeeping can help prevent injuries and now is the time to start preparing.
Although the weather can affect both the outside and inside of a commercial building, falls and slips are more likely to occur outside. You can also keep the inside of your building free of potential hazards by practicing proper outdoor maintenance.
Snow removal services should be contacted and ready to go in advance so when the weather gets bad, they can be at your service as quick as possible. Ice can gather on many different surfaces, but many injuries take place when it gathers surfaces such as:
- Outdoor Steps
- Parking Lots
Getting Your Business Prepared for Winter
To get your small business ready for the winter months, below are some things you can do to prevent injuries and accidents.
After the First Snow
After the first time it snows, you should walk around the premise and check for potential hazards on walking surfaces of your building. By doing this, you can identify where the potential threats are and the areas that will need to be salted more often.
Clear Outdoor Stairs and Sidewalks
It is imperative that you keep sidewalks and stairways outside your commercial building clear to prevent slip and fall accidents. Ice and snow are big hazards for employees and customers walking in and out of your building, therefore, ensure you have shovels and salt/deicers ready to go.
Check for Weak Branches
Walk around your building and look for low-hanging, weak branches. When ice and snow storms come in, they can weigh down the branches of trees and the ones that are weak can snap and fall on your building or walkways creating further damage.
Protect your Business
If a customer of yours happens to slip and fall in your parking lot or inside your building, they could have a legal case. Usually, it is situation-based. In many cases, if the business took all preventative measures to prevent accidents and injuries, they are able to avoid some legal claims since most of the lawsuit claims are due to negligence. You can greatly reduce your chances of a slip and fall accident of a customer by taking preventative measures.
Slip and fall accidents are not the only thing that can happen during the winter. Property damage and company vehicle accidents can also play a part. Because of this, it is important to have business property insurance for winter-related damage (ice and snow) and commercial auto insurance to cover any possible accidents on bad roads.