While preparing to leave for work, I was watching the weather forecast and was astonished to see that the temperature will be in the 60’s this week! That’s unheard of for December in the Midwest. If we do not get any snow, where will Santa land his sleigh? Although it seems we will have a brief respite until the snow begins to fall, we will likely experience slick and snowy conditions during the upcoming winter months. For business owners, that means slips and falls can occur, and sometimes a patron can be seriously injured as a result. Not a fun way to spend the holiday season!
So what can a business owner do to protect themselves from slip and fall accidents? One very easy way is to shovel snow and use salt to melt ice on sidewalks. Also, make sure that outdoor walkways are free from standing water as they can pool and freeze, creating yet another slip and fall hazard for your patrons.
Another helpful tip is to use caution signs on wet floors caused by folks tracking in snow. Let you patrons know that the area may be slick and hazardous. However, just placing a sign there is not enough! You have to make an effort to keep the area as clean and dry as possible. Not only could your customers slip and fall, but so could your employees.
If you are a business tenant, be sure to examine your lease agreement. You may be contractually responsible for tasks such as timely snow removal and ensuring walkways are safe and clear of any hazards. Even if the landlord is responsible for these activities, be prepared to clear the sidewalk for safe passage if the snow is piled up and you’re about to open your business.
Remember, your customers are invitees which means they have been “invited” to your property to conduct business. Safety starts with you – the business owner – so put on those galoshes and move that snow! By taking a few proactive measures, you can better ensure the safety of both your customers and employees. Let’s all have a safe and happy holiday season!