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Pontell Insurance Agency Blog

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Protecting Your Business: Slip, Trip, and Fall Hazards

Did you know?

  • Over one million people in the United States experience a significant slip, trip, or fall each year.
  • An average of 17,000 Americans dies from those slips and fall accidents.
  • Slips and falls are the single most common reason for visits to the emergency room.
  • The average cost of a slip and fall injury, including medical bills, physical therapy, and missed wages, is substantial.  Further, these type losses drive the increased cost of business insurance.
  • Slips and falls are the number two cause of accident death and disability, following behind automobile accidents.

Within a business or a residential community, there is a legal duty to provide a safe environment for persons who enter the place of business or property –customers, delivery persons, vendors, residents, etc. This means that if a trip hazard exists which is either known or should have been known with a reasonable inspection of the premises, there is a duty to warn and educate others about the hazard or remove/mitigate the hazard.

Why should a business or community correct fall hazards?

  • Reputation, in general; Good Public Policy
  • Appearance & Security of the Business or the Community
  • Reducing or maintaining your insurance costs at a reasonable level
    • Many claims, even though small, will make your insurance more expensive
    • A large claim can make your insurance rates go up substantially
    • Too many claims, either small or large, may make it difficult and expensive to find coverage

“Hazard?  What hazard?”

People tend to trip on all sorts of things–displaced concrete walking surfaces, parking lot pot holes, wet floors, debris on the floor, uneven walking surfaces, and their own two feet. Here are the Basic Walking Surface Standards according to ASTM F1637-10 and the Florida Building Code:

  • The maximum displacement between walking surface joints is ¼”
  • If the displacement is between 1/4” and 1/2”, then the edge should be beveled
  • The walking surface should be slip resistant
  • Carpet should not be wrinkled, loose, or with holes, seams, &/or with frayed edges
  • Parking lots should be smooth and even with no pot holes
  • Wet floors should be marked with signage  and the water or other substance cleaned up, immediately
  • Parking stops should be in good condition & property secured
  • Common areas and walkways should have adequate lighting

Property should be inspected on a regular basis for any type of hazard.  An inspection check sheet is available for use in identifying hazards at businesses and within communities.