Member Insights by The Donahey Law Firm
Humans are clumsy and accidents happen – there is no denying that. On the job injuries vary in intensity but do occur across all industries and across all fields, from high-risk construction sites to low-risk office buildings. As a business owner, you are legally (and ethically) held responsible for maintaining a relatively safe environment for your employees, visitors and customers through Premises Liability. The legal theory of premises liability holds property and business owners liable for accidents and injuries that may occur and liability is determined by the laws and procedures of each state.
Serious injuries may not only be fatal to the victims at hand, but for your business as well. It’s crucial to be aware of the various types of injuries that may occur on your property and to take the proper actions to avoid negligence.
Slips and Trips are perhaps the most common premises liability cases and may be a result of:
- defective staircases
- accumulation of ice or snow
- wet floors
- oily floors
- hidden extension cords
- unsecured rugs or carpets
- thresholds, and
- loose or broken floors, sidewalks, steps, or stairs
While you can’t avoid hiring clumsy humans, you can avoid accidents and injuries as a result of slips and trips by immediately cleaning up spills, taking proper precautions to winterize your property, clear walkways of obstructions and maintain the physical structure of walk/driveways surrounding your premises.
Repetitive Motion Injuries While you may think this type of injury only occurs in warehouse-like positions, think again. Repetitive motions such as typing and heavy computer use can strain muscles and tendons causing back pain, vision problems, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Help keep these incidents low by training employees the proper use of ergonomic equipment.
Vehicle Accidents Do your employees drive in company vehicles or for business purposes? Vehicle-related on the job injuries are very common, some of which can be fatal. Avoid accidents by providing extensive employee safe-driving training and instill employer safe driving policies. In some cases, operating a company vehicle is a privilege. Removing privileges from poor drivers and/or incorporating a reward system for great drivers may also subconsciously encourage employees to drive more safely.
Falling Object Injuries Objects that fall from shelves or dropped by another person can cause injury. Head injuries are a common result of this type of accident. Employer focus on keeping the work environment free from hazards is key to preventing these types of injuries. If employees are working on a site that requires personal protection equipment, such as a hard hat, the employer needs to provide the proper gear and enforcing policies of wear and use.
Overexertion Injuries Motions necessary to carry out a work task including pulling, lifting, pushing, holding, carrying, and/or throwing may result in overexertion injuries. Proper employee training and shift trading may reduce incidents related to overexertion injuries.
On the Job Violent Acts Verbal arguments between employees and customers have led to serious physical injuries. Workplace violence training and employee diligence in watching out for suspicious activities can help keep these incidents at bay. Additionally, inserting violence- and harassment-free workplace clauses to your employee manual and holding your Human Resources department accountable for identifying and correctly handling any potential arguments are also crucial.