North Carolina employers create safety plans to prevent workers from getting injured on the job. The welfare of non-employees who enter a commercial property — customers, suppliers and other business people — also must be considered. Property owners and operators are required to maintain reasonably safe conditions to prevent accidents among visitors.

Slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accidents are responsible for the second largest number of accidental deaths nationwide, after motor vehicle accidents. Many of these mishaps occur in the home. However, a significant number also happen in other places due to preventable situations like slippery floors.

Store owners and other business operators can anticipate wet floors in high traffic areas – particularly at entrances — in rainy, icy or snowy weather. Mats can be employed when frequent mopping doesn’t keep floors dry. “Slippery when wet” signs and barriers can be used to warn visitors of temporary dangerous conditions like weather-related wet floors, water leaks and spills.

Taking actions to prevent falls is common sense. A visitor can be seriously injured or die by falling backward after a slip or forward following a trip. Fall injuries can range from strains and sprains to disabling or life-threatening head and body injuries.

A negligent landowner or store operator may be held accountable for damages and losses incurred by the victim like wage losses due to injury, medical costs and more. Arguments over fault for these injuries is not one sided. Injured parties may bear some or all of the blame for an accident on someone else’s property.

It’s up to plaintiffs to show a property owner or some other party acted irresponsibly before a jury will consider a damage award. In some cases, the care a property owner is obligated to provide depends upon a visitor’s “status.” A premises liability attorney can assess a claim and explain an injured visitor’s right to file a compensation claim.

Source: Work Safe, “Tool Box Talks: Hazards of Wet Floors,” accessed April. 23, 2015