Most people know what it’s like to slip on a patch of ice or trip over a step when you’re out and about. If you’re lucky, it’s nothing serious, and you can walk away with just a bit of embarrassment. However, broken bones, head injuries and worse are common enough outcomes that slips, trips and other common mishaps take on new meaning when you are the owner or operator of a business.

Here’s what to know about preventing slips, trips and other common mishaps at your business.

Liability Claim Risks of Slips, Trips and Other Common Mishaps

In franchises across the country, preventing slips, trips and other common mishaps is a key concern. These incidents are a leading cause of injury and a leading source of liability claims. As the owner or operator a business, you can be held liable for injuries and damages that happen at your place of business.

The liability claim risk for these accidents is high, because many of the hazards are so common and everyday. One slip may not result in any injury, yet another may lead to serious injuries. However, most of these accident claims can be prevented by increasing awareness and taking the right safety precautions.

Here are some of the most common risk hazards for slips, trips and other common mishaps at franchises, plus the steps you can take to minimize your risk of an injury claim.

Flooring risks

  • Carpets, rugs and mats—Watch out for loose, torn, bunching or curling floor coverings. Straighten out or put in storage when not in use.
  • Damaged flooring tiles—Look out for broken or missing tiles. Repair or replace damaged tiles.
  • Floor wax or cleaners—Remember cleaning products can make wood, tile and laminate floors extra slick. Watch your step.

Cleanliness risks

  • Dirty floors—Understand that dirt and grime can also cause a trip or slip hazard. Always keep floors cleaned.
  • Spilled liquids—Check floors for wet spots when entering a workspace and always clean up any spills right away.
  • Pooled water—Note any floor surfaces affected by drainage, leaks or condensation and wipe dry.
  • Footwear—Encourage employees and customers to wear appropriate slip-resistant footwear in good condition.

Obstacle risks

  • Cracked or lifted concrete—Inspect concrete surfaces for cracks or slabs lifting unevenly and note trouble spots.
  • Uneven terrain—Remember that outdoor sidewalks, yards and parking lots can also cause a trip and fall. Take extra care around trip hazards.
  • Cords and wires—Examine and clear all walkways of power cords, telephone cords, extension cords, and any other wires and cords.
  • Congested walkways—Be aware that boxes, furniture, and clutter can congest common walkways and cause a hazard. Keep these areas clear.
  • Open drawers and cabinets—Look for any drawers or cabinets left open and close to avoid running into them.
  • Doorstops—Check around for fixed and moveable doorstops near entryways. Clear a path around the hazard when necessary.
  • Potted plants on the floor—Note that in addition to furniture, plants and flowers can also cause a trip hazard.

Occasional obstacle risks

  • Holiday decorations—Make sure holiday decorations are safely out of paths of travel and not causing a hazard.
  • Floor signs and displays — Remember that floor signs and displays can cause trips. Make sure there is a clear path around them.
  • Ladders and step stools—Try to avoid using unfamiliar ladders and step stools. Always inspect their condition before using or allowing your employees to use. Remove once finished using.
  • Animals and pets—Request that customers not bring pets into the franchise location and that animals are not in the way during home deliveries or in-home services.

Franchise setup risks

  • Stairs—Avoid using stairs that are cluttered or damaged. Inform management and customers of any problem areas.
  • Ramps—Remember that ramps can be dangerous if they are in poor condition, are missing handrails, or covered in snow and ice.
  • Damaged or missing handrails—Always use handrails for steps and ramps. Report damaged or missing rails to management right away.
  • Poor lighting—Take extra care in rooms and hallways that don’t have adequate lighting. Request low wattage and burned out bulbs be replaced.
  • Obstructed visibility—Note areas where visibility is impaired due to furniture or other items. Clear the obstructions where possible.

The hazards that contribute to slips, trips and other common mishaps can vary for each business and conditions at your franchise may change frequently. Make sure employees take stock of any floor or layout changes each new shift and that delivery workers note the hazards of each location. Ensure good communication between employees and with customers to minimize risks where possible. In any setting, not all risks can be eliminated. Yet by having awareness of the potential hazards and taking appropriate safety precautions, your franchise can greatly reduce the risk of a slip, trip or other mishap.