When you live in Massachusetts, snow and ice are to be expected every winter. However, when you’re a commercial property owner, you can’t always let nature run its course. According to state law, owners are liable for personal injuries that occur on their property due to improper snow and ice removal. To help keep your employees and patrons safe this season—and avoid a slip and fall lawsuit—practice the following steps.
How to Prevent Slip & Fall Accidents on Your Property
1. Address Drainage Needs
Review your drainage system to ensure it’s working correctly. Fix any leaks or other issues that may cause water to spill over onto walkways, as these areas will freeze and create a higher risk for slip and fall accidents. If you have any downspouts that empty onto sidewalks, relocate them to more remote areas.
2. Boost Lighting
Make sure all parking lots, stairways, and walkways are adequately lit to help visitors identify potential hazards. Also, support these lighting systems with a backup generator so surfaces will remain illuminated during power outages.
3. Hire a Snow Removal Company
Hire professionals who can clear your outdoor surfaces as soon as possible to ensure they're regularly treated. These providers have the tools necessary to plow snow and apply de-icing solutions to large areas, such as parking lots, stairs, and walkways. Typically, these contractors are scheduled to provide regular service so you can rest assured your surfaces will be properly cleaned throughout the season.
4. Prepare the Walkways
Be prepared to treat walkways when professional services aren't available. Before blizzards or freezing temperatures arrive, treat all entrances, exits, parking lots, and stairways will salt or de-icing solution to improve traction. Also, identify any potential trip hazards—such as curbs or fire hydrants—that may be covered by snow.
5. Keep Floors Dry
Although a great deal of slip and fall prevention focuses on your commercial property's exterior, it's also important to keep indoor surfaces dry as visitors track in moisture. For example, placing rubber mats on both sides of the entrances and exits can help keep dirt and moisture at bay. There should also be a plan in place to regularly mop and dry floors.
Even if you do everything to keep your premises safe this winter, accidents can still happen. When they do, Bellotti Law Group, P.C. is here to provide representation. With over 30 years of experience in personal injury law, these Boston, MA, attorneys will help protect you from an unwarranted slip and fall case. Visit them online to learn more about their practice areas, or call (617) 778-1000 to discuss your case with a compassionate attorney for free.