Ways you can limit snow slip and fall liability
Snow. It’s any business owner’s worst nightmare. While a #Snowmageddon forecast may excite most kids as well as some adults, a major snowstorm may lead to business interruption. Getting your business ready for a worst-case storm scenario is easier than you may think.
If you own or manage a commercial property, it’s up to you to maintain safe conditions for employees, occupants and visitors. With snow and ice accumulating on your sidewalks, stairs, driveways and parking lots, accessibility can quickly turn hazardous and lead to people slipping, tripping and falling.
And when accidents happen, so can claims. That’s why getting better business insurance ALIGNED that specifically addresses the risks your business faces is nothing short of a best business practice.
How CGL specifically protects your business against snow slip and fall liability
Not all business insurance packages cover everything. One of the most fundamental coverages that Canadian businesses need is Commercial General Liability Insurance (CGL) because it protects against liability claims for bodily injury and property damage related to your premises. So yes, CGL is specifically designed to address a snowy day situation where someone slips, falls, hurts themselves and decides to sue your business.
Commercial General Liability also protects against liability claims related to your operations, products, completed operations as well as advertising and personal injury liability. Most importantly, CGL is essential because common law establishes that business owners owe a duty of care to the general public. This applies in all provinces except Québec. In the event that an accident happens on your property, an injured individual may allege that:
- A duty of care was owed
- That duty of care was breached
- Damages and/or injuries were incurred
As your broker and advocate in the Canadian business insurance marketplace, we have strong relationships with more than 65 top insurance companies. This means that we have access to better business insurance options and value. Get a free quote started now using our simple form or reach out to one of our Advocates to discuss your specific needs.
Wondering what else you can do? Plan for the worst case scenario…
A snow removal plan can help you to prevent injuries as well as minimize potential injury costs and liability. Your plan should include responsibilities, communication strategies, equipment as well as back-up procedures for snow removal. Don’t forget to track your snow removal activities. Review your plan periodically to ensure it is working for your property and minimizing the rate of injuries.
Reduce risk with these 7 snow removal best practices
- Review local by-laws and any property management guidelines for snow removal. Confirm how and when snow and ice will be removed as well as who is responsible for clearing. Also specify the timing of removal.
- Place and secure weather mats at all of your building entrances. Regularly check weather mats to ensure they are kept free of debris and have not started to curl and present a tripping hazard.
- Communicate with your employees, tenants, occupants and visitors and request that they immediately report any snow and ice-related hazards to your property manager. Post notices in prominent locations and include contact information for the manager.
- Consider hiring a snow removal contractor who can deliver prompt and reliable support to your business. Ask commercial neighbours for a local referral of a trusted provider.
- Maintain a contract with your snow removal contractor that confirms high quality services, safe working practices and:
- Maintains general liability insurance with a minimum of $1 million
- Provides a certificate of insurance
- Names your business as an additional insured on the policy
- Is held responsible if there are claims following actions, inactions or work done
- Waives subrogation rights
- Record all snow and ice removal activities. A log will help you improve procedures, defend against an injury or property liability claim as well as maintain standards for multiple properties.
- Immediately contact your broker and/or insurance company in the event of a snow slip and fall liability incident.
To learn more about how Commercial General Liability and other ALIGNED products and services can protect your business, contact an ALIGNED Insurance Advocate today.
Note that these snow removal best practices are not exhaustive and not legal advice. They do not address all potential compliance issues with federal, provincial or local standards. Consult your licensed commercial property and casualty representative at ALIGNED Insurance or legal counsel to address possible compliance requirements.