With the weekend forecast including a major winter storm, this is a good time for Connecticut business owners to review the implications of premises liability. Forbes reminds tenants and owners alike that responsibility for the safety of your staff and your clients rests with you alone.
Winter’s icy sidewalks bring slip-and-fall accidents to mind; however, Forbes points out that other injuries such as those resulting from assaults or exposure to hazardous chemicals can also fall under the scope of premises liability. As the party responsible for your property, you can be proactive in protecting your employees and clients.
Forbes recommends you monitor the grounds at all times. Schedule walkabouts to inspect the parking area and sidewalks outside the building. Notice areas where snow has melted and may refreeze overnight, creating additional hazards for the following day. Also look for water on the floors inside, inspect handrails for loose joints and take note of anything else that seems out of place or “off.” The more awareness you employ, the greater the possibility of catching potential problems before they turn into real liabilities.
When you do spot a possible hazard, whether it is a tangible threat like icy steps or the intangible risk of an upset client, address it right away. De-ice the sidewalk, towel dry the floor and tighten up the handrail joints. Speak with the frustrated customer, responding positively to his or her complaint, and resolve the situation as satisfactorily as possible. Be sure to train your staff in procedures for reducing risks as well.
Lastly, Forbes recommends clearly warning employees and clients about any conditions you have discovered but are unable to rectify immediately. Warning signs must be conspicuous enough for everyone to take notice.
If you are a Connecticut business owner, following these recommendations can assist you in proactively securing your premises. If you are a resident who has suffered injury at a retail store or another establishment, you may want to prove the owner was negligent in correcting obvious hazards.
This information intends only to apprise the public regarding premises liability and should not be construed as legal advice.