3 Tips for Commercial Property Owners to Prevent Winter Slip & Falls
A slip and fall accident can happen at any time of year, but winter definitely makes it much more likely that someone could slip, fall, and get seriously hurt. With all the snow and ice outside and the snow that gets tracked inside buildings, it’s very easy to become one of the millions of people sent to the emergency year every year because of a fall.
As a commercial property owner, you have a responsibility to maintain your property and ensure that any reasonably noticeable hazards are taken care of as soon as possible. Whether your property is an apartment building, office complex, or retail establishment, you can plausibly expect that many people will be coming and going throughout the day. If one of those people falls and is injured on your property because of a hazard that could have been prevented, you may end up facing a lawsuit. Here are three steps you can take to help keep visitors to your property safe throughout the winter months.
Snow and Ice Removal
By far, one of the best things you can do to prevent a slip and fall accident on your property is to stay on top of snow and ice removal. When you live and work in a place like Michigan where winters can get very snowy, you certainly can’t keep your sidewalks and parking lots perfectly clear at all times, but it’s very important to do what you can. Not only does this make it less likely that someone will fall on their way in or out of your property, it helps make the inside of your property safer by reducing the amount of snow that gets tracked in on shoes so it doesn’t melt and create slip hazards inside.
Patches of ice and water on floors aren’t always easy to see, especially if there isn’t much lighting available. Take a look around your parking lot, sidewalks, and other areas of the property where visitors frequently go and see what the lighting conditions are like. Is there room for improvement? Having adequate outdoor lighting is particularly important during the winter since the days are shorter, making it more likely people will be coming to the property after the sun has gone down for the day.
Watch Your Floors
It’s very important to constantly be monitoring the conditions of the property’s floors, especially near entrances. Make sure someone is keeping an eye out for puddles and spills and are quickly cleaning them up. Having mats by entrances to keep snow from being tracked inside is an excellent idea, but make sure they’re firmly attached to the floor and that their edges and corners haven’t started to curl up. If the edges and corners of mats aren’t flat against the floor, it can be very easy for someone to trip on them. Also consider what type of materials the floors in your property are made of. Certain types of flooring materials look great, but are extremely slippery. If you have some floors like this in your property, you may want to consider having them replaced with another type of flooring material. If getting new floors put in isn’t an option, look for NFSI-certified cleaning products which can help make floors less slippery.