Everyone knows the safety precautions for a standard office: don't leave drawers opened, make sure any spills are cleaned up, make sure all employees are properly trained, etc. etc. Maintaining safety in your workplace will not only keep everyone from getting injured, but will also keep you from lawsuits.
But what about the more subtle office dangers? These days, employees will sue over almost anything, and it's important to pay attention to anything that may cause an injury i.e., lawsuit. Here are a few things that don't often get mentioned, but are well worth considering.
Old chairs. Office chairs are used every day, by every employee. Are your chairs in good shape? A Seattle man decided to sue his employer for $1 million after his chair plummeted to the floor and he received a hip and back injury. He won because the chair was found to be very old, therefore faulty.
Electrical outlets. Are your employees overloading your office's electrical outlets? This can cause many problems, including electrical shocks. Do routine checks of the electrical outlets in your workplace. This will also help to prevent electrical fires.
Paper shredders. Where there are businesses, there's plenty of paper which ends up in the shredder. Every few weeks or so, the paper shredder will need to be cleaned. Make sure whoever cleans it knows to watch out for the blades, and it may even be a good idea to post a sign somewhere near the shredder. A Tacoma woman won a lawsuit against her employer when she cut her fingers because she explained that she had never been told how to properly clean the paper shredder.
Hot water dispensers. Employees file lawsuits against their employers over hot water dispensers all the time. Because they're often difficult to operate and easily become faulty, hot water dispensers can cause burns. A woman visiting a business in Lacey filed a lawsuit against her employer when hot water spurted onto her hand, causing her to drop an entire bowl of scalding water onto her foot. She won, as multiple fellow employees agreed that the water dispenser had burned them, too.
Paint thinner. Does your office keep paint cans in storage? What about paint thinner? If it's not properly sealed and stored, paint thinner can leak, causing serious health problems. If you have employees doing any painting, be sure the room they're working in is well-ventilated.
Locks on bathroom doors. It's crucial to make sure all bathroom stall locks are properly working. Broken locks can cause lots of problems. A Washington man who was visiting a business won a $500,000 lawsuit against his employer after he claimed that someone used a stall door to knock him in the back of the head and stole his wallet.
Office safety is crucial in order to avoid employee or guest lawsuits. It's also important to be prepared with a good commercial general liability policy. For more information on this or any other business coverages, contact us today! We're Altman Insurance, an independent insurance agency based in Olympia, Washington.