Preventing Slip, Trip and Fall Losses

Slips, trips and falls are some of the most common losses that result in insurance claims. Snow, ice, spills, uneven flooring,  inadequate lighting, and other hazards are common causes of slip, trip and fall injuries. If an accident occurs as a result of unsafe conditions on someone else’s property, the landowner or business proprietor may be held legally responsible.

Slips happen when there isn’t enough friction or traction between your feet and the surface you’re walking on. Common causes of slips include snow, ice, wet or oily floors, spills, loose or unanchored mats, and flooring that lacks the same degree of traction in all areas.

Trips happen when your foot strikes an object, causing you to lose your balance. Trips and falls are due to a variety of reasons, including uneven or broken walkways, debris or clutter, poor lighting, uncovered cables or hoses and wrinkled carpeting or rugs.

Most tripping hazards can be corrected easily by removing items from walkways, painting areas to better identify a change in elevation and using quality floor mats. Simply keeping areas clean and clear will go a long way to reducing tripping hazards in the workplace.

To Prevent Slips

  • Clean up spills immediately. If a spill can’t be cleaned up right away, place “wet floor” warning signs.
  • Keep walkways and hallways free of debris, clutter and obstacles.
  • Attend to weather hazards — rain, sleet, ice, snow, hail, frost; by having the right plan and tools in place. Timely responses to weather, including prompt responses to snow or ice conditions by shoveling and frequent, repeated salting are necessary.
  • Consider installing abrasive floor mats or replacing worn flooring.
  • Use non-skid mats on slippery surfaces, entry ways and splash prone areas.
  • Check that ramps and gang planks have proper, skid-resistant surfaces.
  • Be sure to have valid snow contracts in place.

To Prevent Trips and Falls

  • Conduct regular inspections of sidewalks and walkways for uneven, broken, missing or loose surfaces. Make sure there are no cracks, holes, depressions, tears or damaged covers in building flooring/carpet or pavement outside.
  • Routine maintenance should be a regular part of your safety program.
  • Keep sidewalk vault doors shut when not in use. When opened, use cones and bars to prevent falls.
  • Cover cables, cords or hoses in walkways.
  • Replace burnt-out light bulbs promptly.
  • Shaded areas can make elevation changes difficult to see: Paint edges of walkways with a contrasting color to make the elevation more identifiable.
  • Repair any problem areas immediately and be sure to place warning signs in/on/around areas that need to be fixed.

Tips for Managing Snow & Ice Removal

  • Written contract is in place and has been reviewed since last winter.
  • The who, what, where, when and why of removal have been reviewed and are in place.
  • There is a clear understanding of the amount of snowfall or ice accumulation that will trigger a removal response.
  • There is a clear written understanding of how quickly they will be able to respond and back up measures (including self removal) are in place.
  • It is important that you immediately file a claim if you have a slip or trip and fall case.
  • While slips, trips, and falls can often be attributed to carelessness or clumsiness, the good news is that most accidents are preventable. It is critical to frequently survey your property to avoid potential issues. Proactive attention to hazards will ultimately help keep your employees and customers safe and out of harms way.
  • Although slip, trip and fall claims need to be evaluated first to determine if the injury sustained is a result of your own fault or dangerous conditions, following these simple ways helps to avoid losses before they occur.

Tips for Dealing with Tenants

  • Have a written lease agreement that requires your tenants to hold you harmless to the extent permitted by law for accidents arising out of their use and occupancy of the premises.
  • Require your tenants to maintain liability coverage and provide you with a Certificate of Insurance.
  • Require your tenant to have you named as an additional named insured on their insurance policy.
  • Ensure that your tenant insurance policy does not have any exclusions such as employee or an independent contractor or subcontractor exclusions that will expose you to unintended liability.

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The material contained in this document is for informational purposes only. Your individual circumstances may vary depending upon location, type of construction and other factors and you may therefore be required to implement unique approaches to address particular issues that exist at your location. Please consult with licensed professionals and your utility providers to ensure that any safeguards or improvements you undertake are appropriate and safe.