A large number of slip and fall accidents occur in parking lots. During the winter & early spring seasons, the amount increases significantly due to a number of factors.

Cracks, Depressions and Uneven Surfaces

blog-parkinglotWater seeps into the asphalt, freezes, then expands, creating cracks, depressions, pot holes and uneven surfaces. Part of owning a business involves surveying your lot and making the necessary improvements as quickly as possible. Especially during this time of year, it is essential to seal any cracks or pot holes, repair broken materials and make changes in elevation clear by painting the pavement or adding ADA-compliant, slip-resistant curb cutouts.

Poor Lighting

When workers and customers are unable to see in the dark to get to their cars at night, someone is bound to trip and fall onto the pavement. To improve safety, inspect all bulbs and replace those that have burned out.

Drain Covers and Utility Grates

All parking lots need a sufficient drainage system that will not get backed up and lead to puddles forming. Yet, even when the water drains away, the grates themselves could be a cause for accidents. To avoid this, ensure all are flush with the lot’s surface – not raised or sticking out – and have openings no larger than one inch.

Ice Accumulation on the Roof

While ice accumulation directly on the asphalt is a significant concern, one factor greatly exacerbates this: When roof discharge drains directly onto your lot. Whenever ice melts the runoff trails down the roof, awning or canopy, and lands directly where workers and customers walk, eventually freezing into a thicker sheet of ice.

To avoid this, make sure your roof or overhang does not directly slope onto a parking lot or walkway and that any ice is salted and removed as quickly as possible.

Ice and Snow

Perhaps the greatest concern of this time of year, ice and snow turn your parking lot into a slip and fall hazard when there is not an effective removal plan in place.

What should a business do? Maintenance experts recommend to first remove any ice and snow before employees are scheduled to arrive, then periodically clear it to the farthest edges of the lot throughout the day.

Additionally, snow on the lot should be removed when it reaches a depth of three inches while walkways, regardless of accumulation, should always remain clear. Entryways are another hazard, so equip these areas with textured mats and “wet floor” signs.

It’s an important responsibility for any business owner to anticipate slip and fall hazards because, if an accident is to occur on your property, you may be legally responsible for any injuries. However, those walking across the lot need to exercise care as well. This can be accomplished by wearing footwear with treads, staying alert to what’s ahead and taking small steps.

Did you slip and fall because of ice, snow or poor maintenance this winter? If you are now dealing with increasing medical bills and time off from work, have our knowledgeable lawyers take on your claim. To learn more, contact any of our Connecticut locations today.