Liability issues are a significant concern for commercial property owners—and rightly so. Pavement, parking lots, sidewalks, and steps all pose risks that employees, guests, customers, and tenants may slip, fall and injure themselves. So, those risks must be reduced if you want your property to be safe and appealing to those who use it.
Fortunately, there are many ways to address hazards that can lead to accidents. Here’s how to lessen the likelihood of slips and falls on your commercial property.
Practical Tips to Reduce the Risks of Accidents on Your Property
1. Provide Good Visibility
One of the most valuable and practical steps you can take to help people navigate your property safely is to make sure they can see where they are going. Make sure your parking lot and walkways are well-lit with bright, functional lighting fixtures so that drivers and walkers can see clearly.
In addition, be sure that key features of your property are marked with features such as signage and traffic paint. Curbs and parking blocks that are painted bright yellow will help people see and avoid hazards that lead to accidents.
2. Address Known Slick Spots
Some properties are prone to areas that are slick and hard to navigate. As an example, you may have sections of your parking lot where oil and other vehicle drippings accumulate. If that describes your property, then it’s time to make a plan that proactively addresses the issue.
Power wash these areas regularly to remove slippery residues. Investigate floor and pavement treatments that make it easier to remove spills. And consider adding features such as aluminum treads to steps and walkways, which allows you to add traction where needed.
3. Repair Pavement Damage
Slips and falls are more common when walkways and driveways have weakened, broken pavement. Cracks, uneven sections, and potholes all pose hazards that can damage vehicles and cause people to trip and injure themselves. Solve this issue by performing regular inspections of parking areas and sidewalks—and making repairs as quickly as possible.
Proper maintenance helps to reduce the likelihood of these issues as well. So, get on a regular schedule for cleaning and sealing asphalt and concrete surfaces. Sealants keep moisture from seeping into the surface and causing or worsening cracks and potholes.
4. Ensure Proper and Safe Drainage
A common cause of slippery spots around your property is water that has been allowed to accumulate where cars and pedestrians are going. When it rains, take a look at gutter systems, downspouts, French drains, and related fixtures, and see how well they’re working.
Clear out clogs, repair broken gutters, and ensure that the water filters safely away from areas where people walk and drive. If your property doesn’t draw moisture away easily, consider having its grading (degree of slope) and landscaping assessed and adjusted to encourage better drainage.
5. Respond Swiftly to Bad Weather
Snow and ice can quickly turn a normally safe asphalt or concrete surface into a slick, dangerous place to navigate. Not only is wintery precipitation slippery, but accumulations of snow and ice can also cover and hide other tripping hazards, such as curbs or stairs.
Remove snow from parking lots, sidewalks, and steps to allow for easier navigation, and clear away drainage grates to ensure icy patches don’t form. Apply ice-melting products that are designed for your particular pavement material. Or, opt for products like sand or kitty litter to provide better traction without risking that your pavement is damaged by harsh chemicals. Note that salt can break down concrete, so it’s best to avoid it.
6. Maintain Awnings
Coverings over entryways and steps can be effective at protecting places where people walk—but only if they’re kept in good shape. So, make sure awnings and similar structures are intact. Confirm these coverings are securely and tautly attached in position so they offer the protection they are intended to provide.
7. Accommodate the Elderly and Those with Disabilities
While anyone can slip and fall under the right conditions, be aware that some of your staff, visitors, and tenants may be more susceptible to risks. Assess your commercial property to be sure it is in compliance with any local, state, and federal laws.
Make sure handicap spots and other accessibility features are clearly marked and properly located to make it easier for those who need them to use your property safely. If necessary, install ramps and covered entryways where those with special accessibility needs can easily and safely enter and exit your property.
Safeguard Your Commercial Parking Lots and Sidewalks with R&M Concrete
To lower the risks that people slip and fall, it’s best to proactively keep your commercial pavement and walkways in good shape. Plus, when your concrete surfaces are smooth, attractive, and well-maintained, you’ll enjoy strong curb appeal that makes your Tulsa area commercial property more profitable.