All property owners have a duty to keep their premises in a certain order to reasonably ensure the safety of visitors. Owners of stores and other businesses that are regularly visited by customers should be especially aware of the state of their premises so that customers do not suffer injury.
One of the most common accidents that customers suffer in stores is the slip and fall accident. While slipping and falling may not seem like a serious incident, these accidents have the potential to cause catastrophic injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, neck and back injuries, spinal cord damage or broken or fractured bones. These injuries often require medical treatment and, as a result, the injured customer may incur substantial financial losses. In fact, the National Safety Council (NSC) reports that falls are responsible for approximately 8.9 million emergency room visits per year.
In order to prevent slip and fall accidents, store owners should always be aware of and implement preventive measures such as:
- Regular inspections–you or your employees should regularly inspect your property, especially areas where customers or employees frequent, to ensure there are no new hazards of which you were previously unaware.
- Clean up spills in a timely fashion–if you or an employee does identify a liquid spill or other slip and fall hazard, you should always attend to clean up as soon as possible.
- Avoid any objects or debris in walkways–make sure that all displays or other objects are placed firmly out of walkways, especially lower displays that may not be immediately noticed.
- Secure electrical cords–all electric cords, ropes, or similar lines should be firmly secured along walls so that visitors do not trip over them and fall.
- Replace flooring and carpet–the National Flooring Safety Institute reports that overly worn or uneven floors are a common cause of slip and fall accidents, so floors should be inspected and replaced as often as needed.
- Warn customers of potentially dangerous conditions–if you are unable to sufficiently clean up a spill or fix a another possibly dangerous condition in a timely manner, you must clearly warn customers of the condition so they may take caution and avoid it.
These are only some suggestions of how store owners may take preventive measures so that customers do not suffer serious injuries in slip and fall accidents on your premises. You should always generally be aware of the conditions of your store to make sure there is no unreasonable danger or hazard, or so you can make any necessary repairs as soon as possible.