As a business owner, you should have comprehensive liability insurance coverage for those unfortunate occasions on which someone is injured on the premises of your business. That said, taking the time to identify and minimize the health and safety risks of your business environment can save you a great deal of guilt, hassle, as well as expense in terms of the costly insurance claims you may need to file. Here are some of the most common workplace hazards that you'll want to rid your business of:
- Icy walkways: Icy walkways are one of the most common type of hazard that business have to deal with, and one of the worst liabilities. Depending on the size of your company, you will either want to take care of this internally, or hire an outside company to take care of this for you. Remember that diligence is key with snow and ice removal, and know yourself: if you know you won't be able to maintain your walkways at all times, you should definitely turn to a professional—even if you decide to have hired help only half of the time, and to take responsibility for cleaning yourself the rest of the time. Obviously the most critical time during which the area needs to be well cleared is during your business hours, when you are more likely to have people walking about your premises.
- Wet floors: Certainly, regular cleaning and disinfecting routines are part of maintaining a healthy business environment, but they also pose the risk of wet floors. Know when your floors will be washed, and be sure to use caution signs. If at all possible, block off the affected areas until they are dry. Of course, wet floors may also ensue when a constant stream of foot traffic in the winter treks in snow from outside which then melts in the warm indoors. Try to anticipate that ahead of time, and minimize the moisture by placing generously sized absorbent mats at the entrance of your business.
- Janitorial closets: A closet packed with cleaning supplies is full of chemicals that might be great for destroying microbes, but terrible for direct contact with people. This can be dangerous for children who wander out of their parents' supervision, but it can also be dangerous for adults who mistake a hazardous substance for a safe one. Eliminate that risk by keeping all such solutions in a locked space, limiting the number of people who have access to this space.
- Unstable furniture and fixtures: If you have been affected by an earthquake of considerable force at any point in your life, you know the importance of making sure that furniture is secured and stabilized. Bolt bookcases to the wall, as well as flat screen displays, and try to minimize the amount of trinkets and loose objects lying around, waiting for their turn to bump someone in the head.
- Unkempt lawns: A yard that has not been maintained isn't just an eyesore, it's dangerous. Piles of leaves can disguise uneven ground, which can lead to injury. Vines and sticks can be tripping hazards, as can gnarly roots in overgrown trees. Trees also need trimming to eliminate the risks of heavy limbs falling and causing damage to a visitor's property, or injury to their person (particularly during stormy weather). As with snow and ice removal, determine what you are able to do in this regard yourself, and hire out the rest to a professional.