One of the greatest workers compensation and liability exposures confronting many companies across the country is slip and fall incidents. A fall can result in the loss of a valued employee or the filing of a third-party lawsuit. Many of these incidents can be prevented.
Survey your sidewalks, identify problems and fix them as quickly as possible. You might be responsible (and liable) for sidewalk maintenance and upkeep.
Two of the most common causes of slips and falls are a slippery walking surface, either by design (a waxed tile floor) or by contamination (ice, oil, grease, etc.); or an uneven walking surface (cracks, holes, stairs, etc.). These conditions can be avoided or controlled, preventing many slips and falls.
High-traffic areas for employees and customers should be evaluated closely for unsafe walking conditions. These areas include the parking lots, customer service drive, customer waiting areas, restrooms and service bays. All identified hazards should be taken care of immediately.
Stairs should be in good condition, of equal height and well lit.
Curbs should be highlighted to warn of the change in height.
Exterior lighting should be adequate and checked frequently for malfunctioning fixtures.
Implement a self-inspection program to identify hazards and assure that necessary repairs are made promptly.
All inspection programs should be documented and include follow-up procedures.
Redirect downspouts that empty onto walkways as they can create a slip hazard during winter and summer months.
Floor spills should never be left unattended (especially in customer traffic areas) and should be cleaned up immediately. Post a “Caution – Wet Floor” sign.
An oil-absorbing material should be available for use on oil spills.
All entrances into the building should have mats or rugs to help keep the floors clean and dry, especially during inclement weather.
A snow and ice removal program should be developed and implemented. A single person should be assigned responsibility for monitoring and coordinating the effort.
Snow removal service should include regular checks on location, 24-hour and on-call capabilities.
Be aware that high piles of snow can reduce visibility in vehicle traffic areas, especially at corners.
Accident/incident investigations should be conducted immediately.
Courtesy of Zurich American Insurance Company.
For more information about Zurich Financial Services Group, go to: http://www.zurichna.com.