On-Site Injuries: What Property Owners Need to Know
Being a property owner is a lot like being a parent. As a parent, you are responsible for the safety of your children. And if you are a property owner, the same goes for your location and the customers or clients who patronize it.
One of the responsibilities often overlooked when pondering property ownership is on-site safety. This goes for both workers and customers.
Any business that welcomes people on to its premises is obligated to provide a safe environment for them. When that doesn’t happen, people get injured. Then property owners run the risk of serious problems.
Workplace Safety and Liability
According to US law, any person who enters a property, even trespassers in some instances, has the right to expect a safe environment. When an accident occurs, the question becomes whether the owner was negligent in maintaining his or her property.
According to the law firm Steinberg, Goodman, & Kalish, premises liability claims can occur on any type of public, private, or municipal property. Such injuries include everything from basic slip-and-falls to physical assault, unnatural accumulation of snow and ice, dog bites, etc.
Just because an accident has occurred on your property does not necessarily mean that you will be held liable. There is a wide variety of factors that a judge or jury will take into consideration when deciding blame. Plus, each state has its own rules and standards for proving liability, so a lot depends on where the accident occurs.
Ways to Avoid Accidents
As with raising children, it is not possible to foresee and avoid every single potential danger. But you can take a proactive approach to prevent on-site accidents by doing the following:
Regularly Inspect Premises
Knowing your property inside and out and being aware of what could go wrong is the best form of prevention. This gives you the ability to plan for potential dangers and ensure a regular maintenance schedule for problem areas. It will also do wonders for your ability to respond when an accident does happen.
Quickly Fix the Problem
This one is self-explanatory. If something goes wrong, the quicker you fix it, the less chance there is of other people being injured for the same reason.
Clearly Warn of Hazards
Some hazards take longer to fix or pop up unexpectedly. In these cases, adequate warnings can be the difference between a maintenance inconvenience and a lawsuit. Common examples of this include clear signage and blocking access to the area.
An Ounce of Prevention
Many property owners think that on-site injuries won’t happen at their locations. But the statistics tell a different story. OSHA reports that 5,147 workers died on the job in 2017. And that is in addition to the thousands of accidents that both workers and customers experience annually.
The moral of the story here is to educate yourself on your liability and be proactive about safety. Because, as they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Or, in this case, several million dollars in damages.