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Prevent slips, trips and falls on your business property

Posted December 04, 2013 in Advice Column, Urbandale

As a business owner, property owner or a landlord, it’s your legal responsibility to maintain a safe environment for your employees and tenants.

To reduce the potential for injuries, you may want to consider the following suggestions:

General tips
Maintain adequate lighting in parking areas, on sidewalks and in stairways. This can make it easier for pedestrians to see any possible impediments.

Gutters should not drain water from the roof onto walkways or into parking areas. Water and puddles can easily lead to slips, and if the temperature is below freezing, ice will form.
Reported spills should be cleaned up quickly.
Repair or replace torn carpets, rugs, loose or missing floor tiles or any other flooring materials.
Consider a removal plan for snow and ice on sidewalks, stairs, parking areas and around dumpsters.
Always repair potholes or uneven surfaces in driveways and parking lots.

Stairways, steps and ramps
Install handrails on stairways and ramps in accordance with local building code requirements.
Handrails should be stable and securely fastened.
Consider using nonslip surfaces, like carpet on stairs.

Walkways and lawn areas
Repair uneven surfaces, large cracks or bumps in the sidewalk.
Remove obstructions from walkways, such as ladders and other maintenance equipment.
If there is a lawn sprinkler system, remember to turn it off and drain the system when the temperature nears freezing. If you don’t, the pipes could freeze, leading to leaks and an unplanned ice rink.

Other important safety tips
If you own a building and have tenants, have a manager on duty whenever possible.
Post emergency phone numbers.
Keep first-aid kits handy and ready for use.
Investigate and keep a record of incidents.
Incident reports should provide documentation and should include who was injured, dates, and circumstances. Management should review any incident reports.

Information provided by Ben Buenzow, State Farm Insurance, 3273 100th St., Urbandale, 270-8870.

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