Auto dealerships generally have a steady flow of customers that visit their property. They may be at the dealership looking to buy a new car or there to have their current vehicle serviced. Regardless of why they are on the property, keeping these visitors safe from injuries should be a primary concern.
Slip and Fall and Trip and Fall accidents are one of the most frequent causes of injuries to dealership customers, and these often lead to insurance claims. This bulletin outlines simple strategies for preventing these types of losses.
Authorized Areas – Limit customers only to those areas where their safety can be ensured. It is best to keep customers out of the shop and service areas, and signs should be posted accordingly. If it is necessary for a customer to be in the service area, then they should always be escorted.
Uncluttered Walking Surfaces – Keep all walking surfaces free of clutter such as cords, hoses and equipment. Secure (taping, tacking, etc.) all rugs, mats, and carpet that do not lay flat. Consistently monitor the condition of all floor mats to ensure that they do not have any wrinkles or upturned corners.
Avoid Slippery Floors – Use non-slip flooring whenever possible. All spills should be cleaned up immediately. Spills and wet floors should be marked with proper signage. Use commercial-grade floor mats at all entrances to reduce wet floors caused by tracked-in rain and snow.
Safe Stairways – All stairways and steps should be well lit, as proper lighting is the key to safe stairways. A proper handrail should be provided for all stairways. All steps and stairways should have non-slip surfaces. Regularly inspect all stairways to ensure there are no burned out lights and that all steps are in good shape. Any damaged or cracking steps should be repaired immediately.
Safe Exterior Walkways – Less than half an inch of water on a sidewalk slab or paver can cause a trip and fall hazard. Potholes in the vehicle lots also pose a hazard. Establish a program of regular inspection of all vehicle lots and exterior walkways to identify and correct trip and fall hazards. In colder climates, the proper clearing of snow from lots and walkways and use of ice melt products is a must. Be sure to obtain a certificate of insurance (showing both general and auto liability coverages) from any third-party contractors who are hired to perform snow removal service.
Discourage Fraud – The presence of security cameras as well as signs indicating that such cameras are in use can be useful in discouraging staged slip and fall claims. Video from these cameras can also be an asset in defending against staged accidents.
Gather Evidence – Should a slip/trip and fall occur, treat the customer with respect and ensure they receive proper medical treatment if necessary. Complete an incident report indicating the exact location of the fall, the conditions of the surface at the time (take photos), and note the type of footwear the customer was wearing. Preserve any video footage of the incident and report the incident to your insurance agent as soon as possible.