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Remedial Measures - Risk Management

As an attorney, I see liabilities everywhere! When you open your doors for business, you take a risk that customers and other visitors may be injured or cause property damage. Your small business has the potential to incur liabilities on and off your premises. You have a responsibility to them to ensure your premises are fit for their intended purpose and safe. You owe it to your business, from a financial standpoint, to minimize the risks and to insure against them.

This post will look at some forms of premises liability for businesses. I’ll discuss some best practices for minimizing your exposure to these risks. Finally, we’ll look at the types of insurance that can help protect your business and its assets against these liabilities.

Business owners often worry, and rightfully so, about being held liable for injuries or damage caused by or on their property. However, there are several steps you can take to minimize your liability exposure. First, you should make sure your premises are safe for public use. One way is to conduct a thorough and regular investigation of the premises and to eliminate or reduce any defects that may lead to accidents. This means making sure that sidewalks, driveways, and parking lots are in good condition, and that your business is free of defects that would cause someone to fall and injure themselves. A daily checklist is an excellent tool to remind you or your employees to complete these tasks, to confirm they were completed, and to provide support in case of litigation. At a minimum, include the name of the task, a block for the day and time the task was completed, and a block for the initials of the person who completed the task.

Promptly clean up spills or accidents and place “wet floor” signs out when appropriate. Make sure all floors are free of debris, loose flooring, and other trip hazards. Make sure your stairs are sturdy and have proper guard rails. Maintain your land/property by clearing debris after a storm, removing snow, and making sure your parking lot and walkways are free of ice. Maintain adequate building security whenever possible, including having security cameras and the ability to lock doors and fences. This will reduce the risk of causing an injury to a person who enters your property. You should document these efforts in writing and with photographs. This can help with your defense should you be sued for an incident or accident.

Another way is to warn of any hazardous conditions on the premises and to instruct employees to use caution when working on or near hazardous conditions. If a hazardous condition occurs, mark that location with a warning sign and attempt to correct it as quickly as possible. If you are unable to fix it promptly, divert employees or customers from that area until the hazard can be fixed.

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