How property owners can prevent falls during the winter

In Massachusetts, property owners are responsible for maintaining safe premises. This includes removing dangerous snow, ice, dirt and water that accumulates inside and outside of the property.

When someone is injured as a result of a property owner’s failure to exercise reasonable care in keeping the property safe, they are sometimes entitled to damages for medical expenses and lost wages.

In fact, statistics from the National Safety Council show that business owners spend $70 billion annually in workers’ compensation and personal injury claims stemming from customer and employee slips, trips and falls.

The president of the National Floor Safety Institute said that the number one thing business owners need to do to prevent these accidents is to place proper floor mats near the outside and inside of all business entryways.

Failing to do so is just one way business owners may find themselves liable for a personal injury lawsuit. However, only certain floor mats will do the trick, the Institute president said.

Effective floor mats must lay flat, have high-traction surfaces and slip resistant backing, and must be cleaned and checked regularly. This is important because research shows that a square yard of matting can see more than a pound of dirt per week.

Unfortunately, many businesses do not keep their floor mats properly maintained, which is likely why slips, trips and falls are so prevalent during the winter months. But if business owners want to keep their properties safe and avoid personal injury lawsuits, they must put forth the effort.

Source: The Sacramento Bee, “‘Tis the Season for Slip, Trip, and Fall Claims,” Dec. 12, 2011