Premises liability, the two words that make any business owner shift nervously in their seat. This is the name given to the plethora of problems that can arise from a work-related accident. From the harm done to the employee to the potential harm done to the business itself, it is definitely something all business owners should look into and get a good idea of what is probably going to come knocking at their door one day or the other. When these things happen, it is imperative that the proper procedures are followed and everyone is okay above all else.
Do your homework
Premises liability is, essentially, the idea that anyone injured within an office space you are directly responsible for is your responsibility. In laymen’s terms, if anyone gets hurt in our neck of the woods, we are put under the crosshairs of a potential lawsuit. Of course, lawsuits are an extreme example but business owners are essentially signing off on this the moment they let anyone in their building, be it a visitor or an employee. It is generally considered wise to take up a proactive approach to the problem and read up on safety codes, preventing these things from even happening.
It can get crazy
Regardless of our preparation, accidents will, regrettably, happen. These can range from employees slipping and falling to absurdities like people getting into a fight while inside your office. The sheer range of situations that fall under premises liability can catch many owners by surprise and can leave a serious dent in their budget if it goes too far. There are some instances when premises liability holds people accountable for the safety of their neighbors when, i.e. a dangerous substance spills over to their side. Essentially, if there is anything you as an owner could’ve done to prevent something from happening, you could end up being held accountable in a court of law.
Read the contract
When signing a contract with a landlord, read the fine print. Most of the times landlords have clauses that exclude them from any liability for these kinds of situations, leaving you on your own in case a lawsuit comes knocking.
This is essentially presented as a tenant bearing sole responsibility to maintain the safety of the property being rented out. Negligence on their behalf is never excluded but you will almost always have to bear the brunt of any mishaps – be prepared.
If an accident does manage to happen in your office, disregard everything else until the person is taken care of. Take special care that employees are given proper medical attention as soon as it’s needed and that a medical professional has been notified. When the employee has been taken care of and is stable, seal off the area where the incident happened or remove the person who caused it. These steps insure that everyone is alright and that the situation is contained so it doesn’t chain to other people or end up causing more damage.
Talk it over
After the damage has been done, talk it over with the employee. Lawsuits can drag on for extended periods of time and can end up doing more harm to both parties involved. Always attempt to approach the injured individual and offer to discuss the matter privately, a good talking to can do wonders and avoid any unpleasantries involving lawyers. Sydney and similar larger hubs practice conducting independent research into what lead to accidents happening and determining what lead to their occurrence. Despite this, if the injured individual decides not to press charges, any liability one might hold goes out the window.
It’s your responsibility
At the end of the day, it is imperative that we own up to whatever might happen. This will help employees see their employers as human and will lessen any bad blood between anyone harmed while in the office. The law is a finicky thing and there are many exceptions and caveats that most won’t be aware of until it’s too late. Rather than fighting lawsuits and spending the majority of your day hearing court proceedings, take the time to make a statement and help the person who got hurt while under your wing.
One step at a time
When these incidents happen, it is imperative that a cool head is kept and that everything is handled one step at a time. Trying to do too many things at once might end up creating the opposite effect and causing more harm than good. Find out what premises liability is, make sure to be aware of every clause, bylaw and any other minor detail that might end up coming back to bite you. Prepare yourself for the worst and always focus on being the one thing your employees need you to be in these situations – human.