Running a business today is a constant juggling act. And with the risks becoming increasingly complex and costly with threats such as cyber theft and employment practices lawsuits, it’s easy to overlook the little things – like simple slip, trip, and fall hazards.
But these “little things” are a double threat to your bottom line. Why? Because slip, trip, and fall accidents can happen to both employees and customers, so it takes vigilance on both fronts to prevent these incidents. Once they happen, the consequences and the costs add up fast.
The risks to your customers
When a customer walks into your store, they assume your business is safe. And under premises liability law, you have a duty to provide reasonable care in keeping your business in a safe condition. It only takes a split second to put your efforts to the test when a customer slips or trips and falls due to torn carpeting, poor lighting, a change in flooring, or a spill. Or maybe they slip and fall on the icy sidewalk outside. Now you could be looking at a potentially costly liability claim – and that’s just where the drain on your profits begins. You could also be looking at medical costs for the injured party, higher insurance premiums and/or higher deductibles, and fewer customers due to a damaged reputation, among other costs.
Your best defense is to be proactive about providing reasonable care and preventing accidents from happening in the first place. Here are a few guidelines:
- Have a written policy outlining your expectations for maintaining a safe and clean shopping environment
- Provide and regularly reinforce training in slip and fall accident prevention, and document new employee training
- Regularly monitor your premises for hazards, and identify and remedy any hazards immediately
- Implement prevention procedures for foreseeable hazards
- Maintain robust New York business insurance
The risks to your employees
Slips, trips, and falls make up the majority of workplace accidents, and they’re the leading cause of workers compensation insurance claims. Here are just a few of the sobering statistics:
- Slips, trips, and falls cause 15 percent of all accidental deaths according to OSHA.
- According to the National Safety Council, nearly $70 billion is spent every year on medical expenses and workers' compensation for employee slip and fall accidents.
- The National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) reveals that walking surfaces contribute to 55 percent of all slips, trips, and falls in the workplace, while fraud, improper footwear, hazard identification, and lack of training cause the remaining 45 percent.
So how do you prevent slip, trip, and fall accidents among your employees? For starters, with many of the same safety measures you take for keeping customers safe – good housekeeping, keeping floors clean and dry, adequate lighting, regular monitoring, cleaning up spills immediately, etc. But you also need to get your entire staff onboard with slip, trip, and fall prevention. Have clear policies and procedures, provide regular training, and make sure everyone knows how to recognize the hazards and what to do about them.
When it comes to the many risks you face in running a business, it’s easy to focus on the big things and overlook the seemingly less significant things. But when it comes to slip, trip, and fall accidents, it pays to sweat the small stuff because a seemingly small incident can quickly escalate into a costly disaster for your business.
Need more tips on creating a safe environment for your customers and employees? Contact the business insurance experts at BNC Agency.