Did you know that millions of personal injury lawsuits are filed yearly? According to affordable law experts Rocket Lawyer, Tort cases, where a civil wrong causes loss or suffering (such slip and fall injuries, employment discrimination and even wrongful death) account for 11 percent of the 20 million civil cases filed annually.
No one wants to think about getting sued in their business, but with statistics like that it’s clear that your chances of being sued may be greater than you think.
So what can you do to help prevent a personal injury lawsuit in your business?
Carry Out a Thorough Risk Assessment
A thorough risk assessment will help you to spot potential problems. Take your time and thoroughly assess every aspect of your business.
Steps to take include:
- The premises itself – check from roof to basement to make sure everything is in good order;
- Substances and equipment – from a hot coffee machine to a forklift truck, be aware of everything your employees or visitors handle on a daily basis;
- Daily business tasks – from manufacturing to typing, take note of what your employees do on a daily basis, and whether they’re doing it in the safest way possible;
- Unavoidable hazards – from steep stairs to blind corners, be on the lookout for unavoidable hazards, and plan what you can do to minimize them.
Minimize Risks Where You Can
Once you’ve carried out your risk assessment, turn your attention to finding ways to minimize the risks. There are many ways you can do this. For example, if you find certain areas prone to get slippery, invest in non-slip mats. If your premises have steep stairs, mark the edges with hazard tape, and so on.
Try to minimize the risks to your employees in carrying out their daily tasks. For example, make sure they have the best equipment for the job and are trained in how to use it properly.
Those who use computers a lot may benefit from ergonomic chairs and desks. If your employees have to operate machinery, provide appropriate safety wear.
Whatever your business, make sure your environment is as comfortable and well lit as possible, and that your employees are trained in good lifting and handling practices.
Maintain Your Business Inside and Out
As the article “If You Slip and Fall in a Parking Lot, Call Personal Injury Attorneys” points out, premises liability extends outside of a brick and mortar business and into the parking lot.
Make sure that from the moment they walk or drive onto your lot, employees and visitors will be subjected to as few risks as possible.
Keep all walkways and driving areas as clean and slip-free as possible, and be mindful of entrance ways and porches. Any potential hazards should be clearly posted via signage.
Inside your premises, be sure to schedule regular maintenance. From getting the boiler checked to dealing with a loose roof tile or threadbare carpet, make premises maintenance a regular business task.
Deal with Hazards as Soon as Possible
Any time a hazard gets left, there’s a greater chance of an injury, and potentially a lawsuit. Slips, trips and falls are common workplace accidents, and many of these can be prevented with prompt action.
Mop up spills straight away, treat icy parking lots and sidewalks, and deal with blown out light bulbs or trailing cables as soon as you spot them.
Workplace accidents cause a lot of stress for both the injured party, and the employer. Take as many steps as you can to reduce the risk of accidents, and don’t forget to keep your insurance up to date, just in case.
About the Author: Tristan Anwyn writes on a variety of topics including social media, how to make the most of your small business, and how to prevent personal injury lawsuits.