a photo of two wet floor signs from the POV of laying on the floor and looking up

What steps can business owners take to reduce accidents?

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

Every day, thousands of shoppers in California are injured at businesses due to issues like slippery floors, broken glass, malfunctioning equipment, and more. Business owners have a responsibility to keep their public facing areas safe, and so this article was created to serve as a baseline or reminder of the proactive steps that can be taken to reduce the likelihood of accidents occurring at a place of business. These measures are crucial for ensuring customer and employee safety, as well as for minimizing the risk of liability and legal issues. Here are some key strategies:

1. Regular Maintenance and Inspections: Regularly inspect the premises for potential hazards such as loose floor tiles, wet floors, obstructed walkways, or faulty equipment. Address any issues immediately.

2. Clear Signage: Use clear signage to warn of potential hazards, such as wet floors, low ceilings, or steps. Make sure signs are visible and easily understandable.

3. Good Housekeeping Practices: Keep all areas clean and clutter-free. Promptly clean up spills and ensure aisles and walkways are free of obstructions.

4. Employee Training: Provide thorough training for employees on safety procedures, including how to identify and report potential hazards and how to handle emergencies.

5. Adequate Lighting: Ensure that all areas, especially walkways, staircases, and parking lots, are well-lit to prevent trips and falls.

6. Safety Equipment: Provide necessary safety equipment, like handrails on stairs, non-slip mats in slippery areas, and guards on machinery.

7. Accessibility: Make sure your premises are accessible to people with disabilities, which includes having ramps, handrails, and other necessary accommodations.

8. Emergency Preparedness: Have a clear emergency plan in place and ensure that all employees are familiar with it. This includes procedures for evacuations, medical emergencies, and other potential crises.

9. Regularly Review and Update Safety Procedures: Continually assess your safety procedures and make improvements where necessary. Stay updated on any changes in laws or regulations that may affect your business.

10. Encourage Reporting of Hazards: Create a culture where employees feel comfortable reporting safety concerns and fixing said hazards without fear of repercussions.

11. First Aid Ready: Keep a well-stocked first-aid kit and have staff trained in basic first aid.

12. Insurance Coverage: Maintain adequate liability insurance coverage to protect your business in case an accident does occur.

By implementing these measures, business owners can significantly reduce the risk of accidents and injuries on their premises, creating a safer environment for everyone.

What is the most helpful piece of protective equipment a business can use to prevent customer injury?

The “most helpful” piece of protective equipment to prevent customer injury in a business largely depends on the nature of the business and the specific risks involved. However, one universally beneficial piece of equipment is proper signage. 

1. Signage: Signs are crucial for warning customers of potential hazards like wet floors, construction areas, low ceilings, or other unusual conditions. Clear, visible, and well-placed signs can effectively communicate dangers to customers, helping them to avoid hazardous situations. 

2. Non-Slip Mats: In businesses where floors may become wet or slippery, like restaurants or grocery stores, non-slip mats can be extremely effective in reducing the risk of slips and falls.

3. Barrier Systems: In areas where construction or maintenance is ongoing, barriers can help to keep customers away from potential hazards.

4. Adequate Lighting: Ensuring that your premises are well-lit, particularly in areas like stairways, corridors, and parking lots, can significantly reduce the risk of trips and falls.

5. Handrails and Guardrails: Installing these in stairways, ramps, and elevated areas can prevent falls and provide stability for customers, especially those with mobility issues.

6. Emergency Equipment: Items like fire extinguishers, first-aid kits, and automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are essential in handling emergencies effectively.

Each of these pieces of equipment plays a role in maintaining a safe environment for customers. The best approach is often a combination of several safety measures tailored to the specific needs and risks of the business.

According to workinjurysource.com general work injury statistics show that non-fatal workplace injuries in the private sector in the U.S. were reported at about 2.6 million cases for the year 2021, with the rate of workplace injuries remaining steady. Industries with the highest number of non-fatal workplace injuries included healthcare, retail trade, manufacturing, transportation and warehousing, accommodation and food services, and construction. California was among the states with the highest number of non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses. These statistics provide an overview of the general trends in workplace safety but do not detail specific incidents for California in 2023.

What is the best training for employees to prevent hazards in 2023?

The best training for employees to prevent hazards in 2023 involves a comprehensive approach that includes:

1. Safety Awareness Training: Educating employees about common workplace hazards and the importance of safety protocols.

2. Emergency Response Training: Training employees on how to respond in emergency situations, including fire safety, evacuation procedures, and first aid.

3. Task-Specific Safety Training: Providing specialized training for specific tasks or equipment that pose unique risks.

4. Health and Wellness Programs: Educating employees on health and wellness to prevent workplace injuries related to stress, fatigue, and other health-related issues.

5. Regular Refresher Courses: Ensuring ongoing training and updates on safety procedures to keep safety knowledge current.

Each business should tailor its training program to its specific industry and work environment to effectively minimize risks.

What business poses the highest risk for customer injury?

Businesses with the highest risk for customer injury typically include:

1. Construction Sites: Open to visitors or clients, these sites have numerous hazards like falling objects, open excavations, and machinery.

2. Adventure Sports/Recreational Facilities: Activities like rock climbing, skiing, or amusement parks have inherent risks of falls, collisions, and equipment-related injuries.

3. Retail Stores: Slip and fall accidents are common, especially in stores with high customer traffic or those selling large or bulky items.

4. Restaurants and Bars: Risk of slips, trips, burns, or food-related illnesses.

5. Fitness Centers/Gyms: Injuries can occur from equipment misuse or lack of supervision.

Each type of business requires specific safety measures and liability insurance to manage these risks.

In terms of California, businesses that typically pose the highest risk for customer injuries are similar to those in other regions. These include construction sites, adventure sports and recreational facilities, retail stores, restaurants and bars, and fitness centers or gyms. Each of these types of businesses has its own set of inherent risks that can lead to customer injuries, such as slips, falls, equipment-related incidents, and others. Proper safety measures and insurance are crucial for these businesses to manage these risks effectively.

At J&Y Law Firm, we recommend seeking professional legal advice if a customer has had an accident while at your business. For further guidance or to discuss your specific case, contact J&Y Law Firm at (877) 426-6580, and our team of experienced attorneys will be happy to assist you.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.