Tips to Help Prevent Slips, Trips and Falls

Three Ways to Help Prevent Slips, Trips and Falls in the Real Estate Industry

80% of real estate industry liability claims over the past two years were related to slips, trips and falls.

The Impact of Slip, Trip and Fall Claims to Your Business

As a property owner, people enter and exit your building every day. That’s why it’s important to take the necessary measures of reducing the risk of a slip, trip or fall.  The exposure is not just inside your building, but also around the exterior portions of your owned property.
 
From the parking lot and walkways to areas inside the building, the risk of injury starts the minute anyone arrives on your property. The traditional method of managing slip, trip and fall risks, which focused solely on physical hazards, isn’t working. In fact, an average of 80 % of real estate industry liability claims over the past two years are related to slips, trips and falls. This outpaces the next leading claim type times six.1
 
"Slip, trip and fall liability claims are a leading cause of loss for real estate businesses. We know how costly these claims can be to our real estate customer’s bottom line, “ said Rob Sullivan, Middle & Large Commercial underwriting officer and industry lead for The Hartford’s Real Estate Practice. “Litigation trends indicate they are expected to continue to grow in both frequency and size. This merits reevaluation of a customer’s current risk management processes and technology.”
 
“Our team of real estate industry experts from across underwriting, risk engineering and claims understand what is at risk and the importance of assisting our customers with implementing a well-defined comprehensive slip, trip and fall prevention plan,” Sullivan continued.
 
To help prevent these types of claims from happening to your real estate operations, our specially trained risk engineering consultants put together three tips to help reduce your business’ risk of slip, trip and fall claims.

Three Ways You Can Prevent Slips, Trips and Falls in Your Workplace

slip and fall injuries in the workplace slips trip and falls in the workplace fall injuries in the workplace

Whether your client is walking through your parking lot or inside your real estate office, they can slip, trip and fall in the blink of an eye. See how you can help prevent these accidents with our tips below:

How Common Are Slips, Trips and Falls?


Three Tips for Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls

workplace fall statistics
Create a prevention and management strategy:
Make sure you know where your responsibility to provide a safe space for clients begins and ends. You can then check your parking lot, walkways, staircases and lobby for risks.
fall safety tips workplace
Use technology to help reduce risks:
Installing motion detectors and hanging signs in your doorways can help you control access to your building. Security camera footage can also help defend your business from a slip, trip and fall lawsuit.
slips and falls in the workplace
Adapt to changing conditions:
Spills in the cafeteria or water buildup on restroom floors can happen frequently. That's why you'll want to regularly inspect both locations, install slip-resistant flooring and train your employees on what to do if they see a wet spot on the ground.

For more tips and resources, check out our Real Estate page.
 
1, 2 The Hartford

1. Create a Slip, Trip and Fall Prevention and Management Strategy

A good mindset to have is that people face these risks the moment they enter your property.
 
Our analysis found that 51% of slip, trip and fall claims happened in the parking lot or outside of a building.2 That’s why it’s important to look both inside and outside of the building when you’re trying to address risks, like:
 
  • Parking lots
  • Walkways
  • Staircases
  • Lobby
Make sure you understand where your responsibility to provide a safe space for clients begins and ends. Knowing this can help you create a strategy to reduce potential liabilities. Five key areas make up a slip, trip and fall risk management plan:
 
  • Knowing your responsibility
  • Leveraging engineering and technology
  • Access control
  • Managing changing conditions
  • Consistent claim response

2. Use Technology to Help Reduce Risks

Installing cameras in your building can help you manage slips, trips and falls. You can also use the data and footage your cameras record to build your business’ defense if someone sues you after one of these incidents. If you’re going to use cameras in your building, make sure to:
 
  • Cover all common areas, including the parking spaces. Focus on areas where floor surfaces change from outdoor to indoor, where elevation changes or where sections with hazards are, like a water fountain.
  • Use motion detection sensors with the cameras as well as local lighting and infrared illumination.
  • Keep recording archives for as long as you’re required to according to local state laws.
  • Have an information technology resource maintain your camera system to be sure it works correctly.
You can also use motion detectors and signs at specific doorways to control access to your building. Some technology can send a notification to your smartphone or computer if it senses motion at a specific door.
 
Don’t forget about the employees, staff and tenants you have in the building. They can be a valuable source of information and notify you of any new risks or hazards. You can encourage people to notify you by:
 
  • Posting signs with QR codes to help them file a report.
  • Publicizing a number that people can text to report spills or other tripping hazards.
  • Offering small rewards for submitting a report, like branded items.

3.  Adapt to Changing Conditions

Accidents happen, which can create new slip, trip and fall hazards in your building, such as:
 
  • Spills in the cafeteria, hallways or elevator lobbies
  • Water on the restroom floor
  • Wet floors from people walking in and out of the building when it’s raining
It’s essential to address these types of hazards quickly. A good way to do this is to use mats at entrances and exits. You can also:
 
  • Partner with your construction or architecture team to install slip-resistant floor surfaces.
  • Examine whether the distance between the sink and dryer or towel station is the cause for water buildup on the floor of restrooms.
  • Regularly inspect the cafeteria and restrooms, keeping up with any spills to clean them quickly.
  • Create a formal spill response plan and train all employees on what to do if they see a wet spot.
Don’t forget about your parking lots. These areas are one of the leading locations of slips, trips and falls. Good management and maintenance of parking areas include:
 
  • Evaluating lighting needs and whether they activate by motion or time.
  • Identifying and highlighting elevation changes in parking lots and walkways with contrasting colors or lighting.
  • Conducting visual inspections of all walkways and the parking area to identify hazards.
  • Cleaning any surfaces that accumulate dirt or debris.
  • Removing snow or ice when needed. Be aware this may need to happen multiple times a day.
  • Using closed-circuit TV monitoring and recording of the entire parking area.

What to Do if a Slip, Trip and Fall Occurs

Make sure your business is prepared and knows what to do if a slip, trip and fall happens on your property. Taking these simple steps can have a significant impact on claims against your business:
 
  • Identify and react to the incident as quickly as possible.
  • Have a prepared incident report ready and available to staff at all times. You can also use technology to increase access.
  • Treat the customer with compassion and respect at all times.
  • Don’t admit fault.
  • Call 911 if the injury is life-threatening or the client requests assistance.
  • Review the incident and make corrections as necessary to prevent future accidents.

Helpful Resources for Your Business

Find more information and helpful risk engineering resources by logging into our Risk Engineering Customer Portal.
 
 
1, 2 Data source: The Hartford
 
The information provided in these materials is intended to be general and advisory in nature. It shall not be considered legal advice. The Hartford does not warrant that the implementation of any view or recommendation contained herein will: (i) result in the elimination of any unsafe conditions at your business locations or with respect to your business operations; or (ii) be an appropriate legal or business practice. The Hartford assumes no responsibility for the control or correction of hazards or legal compliance with respect to your business practices, and the views and recommendations contained herein shall not constitute our undertaking, on your behalf or for the benefit of others, to determine or warrant that your business premises, locations or operations are safe or healthful, or are in compliance with any law, rule or regulation. Readers seeking to resolve specific safety, legal or business issues or concerns related to the information provided in these materials should consult their safety consultant, attorney or business advisors. All information and representations herein are as of May 2021.
The Hartford Staff
The Hartford Staff
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