Salt, Shovel and Sand: What Every Business Owner Needs to Know About Occupier’s Liability

8 Jul

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If you fail to maintain your property, the likelihood of an accidental fall or injury increases exponentially. Whether it’s an icy sidewalk or a broken handrail, an organization is responsible for maintaining a reasonably safe space for all employees or visitors. If you fail to prevent a foreseeable accident by not providing a basic standard of care, a slip and fall law suit may await you. In order to protect your reputation and finances, here are some things you should do to maintain your property and keep it safe. Asan occupier, you are expected to keep the space safe for all who enter.

Clean Up all Surfaces 

Surfaces both indoors and outdoors need to be maintained at all times. Outdoors, clean up snow on your sidewalks and salt where ice may be present. You may want to place notices or orange cones where the risk of slipping is especially high. Indoors, you should always clean up all spills as soon as possible. Put up clear markers when the floors may be wet from mopping or an accidental spill. If your tile flooring is always slippery, consider placing rugs or signage that tells people to mind their step.

Clear Debris

Debris can include boxes, carts, or anything that presents an opportunity for someone to trip. Always clear aisles and hallways of debris, because you might be liable for an accident if someone doesn’t see an obstacle and falls down. If you must keep a box or delivery in an aisle, tape it off with bright warning ribbon so that the average person can clearly see it and avoid walking into it. Clear the obstacle as soon as is reasonable, because debris left for too long – even when marked as dangerous – could make you liable in the case of an accident.

Fix Broken Lights and Fixtures

A poorly lit area or a bad hand rail might increase the chances that someone trips and falls on your property. Broken steps, chairs, and other permanent fixtures must also be maintained to avoid accidents. Keep a schedule for checking your lights and fixtures so that you can find broken items at the onset. You should also fix any issues that crop up in between scheduled checks as they occur. A Calgary insurance agent can point out the best way to maintain fixtures and the right insurance plan needed to help pay for their repairs.

Occupier’s liability applies to any organization or person who is the owner or leaser of a piece of property. You agree to maintain the building when you agree to occupy it, and the law requires you to attempt to prevent accidents whenever possible. While you can’t necessarily avoid all slips, trips, falls, or other accidents – you should always try to see them coming and make any repairs or replacements that could keep everyone safe. A single law suit as the result of a slip and fall can be very expensive, so it’s always best to act preventatively rather than react to an accident after the fact.

George Nesler ran a small business establishment for many years. He has since retired, and enjoys sharing his insights on a variety of blog sites.

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