It can be both challenging and exciting to own your own business, and you have many things that you need to consider to make sure that your establishment remains profitable. Worrying about the state of your store and property needs to be one of these considerations, especially since you have a duty of care to ensure the safety of every person who enters your business. Duty of care means preventing slip and fall accidents. These accidents are relatively common with over one million distinctive injuries in the United States each and every year, and your business may be liable for the medical bills related to the personal injury. Make sure that your store is safe and provide safety across the outside of your property as well. This includes maintaining the sidewalk that runs either in front or next to your business.
Check For Cracks
Most sidewalks constructed in the United States are made out of thick layers of concrete. Sidewalks are typically four inches thick and strain relief grooves are formed within the sidewalk every four or five feet. These grooves allow the different sections of concrete to shift or move slightly as the ground goes through freeze and thaw cycles during the winter and spring. Over time, the movement of the earth can weaken the concrete and cause cracks to form across the relief grooves or along longer sections of solid concrete. These weakened areas of concrete can buckle even further to create uneven surfaces along the concrete. Uneven concrete can cause slips and falls, so make sure to check for cracks across the sidewalks adjacent to your business at least once a month.
If you see cracks in a sidewalk, make sure to repair them as soon as possible so a personal injury does not occur on your properly. First, look to see if weeds, grass, or other plants have started to grow through the openings. If you see plant growth, use boiling water, salt, or vinegar to kill them. Use your hands to pull up the dead plants and use soap and water to thoroughly clean around the crack. Pull up loose concrete as you work.
Once the concrete is clean, use a level to make sure that the concrete on either side of the crack is level with the ground. Buckling concrete can cause uneven edges. If the sidewalk is uneven, then you will need to hire a concrete professional. This individual will place a form over the sidewalk and pour new concrete over the damaged material. The new concrete will bond with the old concrete to create a smooth surface. This process is called overlaying.
If you see small and even cracks, then go to your local home store and purchase some concrete crack filler. This material is a vinyl patching compound that can be placed in a caulk gun. It is flexible and pliable to keep cracks sealed even when the concrete shifts. Spread the patching material in the cracks and use your finger or a small trowel to even it out.
Remove Ice and Snow Thoroughly
Slip accidents can easily occur as well if you do not clear your sidewalks of snow and ice during the winter months. You may shovel and salt the sidewalks, but this is often not the best approach. Salt can pull moisture out of the concrete and cause cracks and weak surfaces over time. Also, rock salt will not melt any snow. The material simply lowers the freezing point of water, and this helps to melt ice that is present. To clear your sidewalks more effectively to reduce injuries, consider spreading calcium chloride. Calcium chloride produces heat as it melts and this causes both accumulated snow and ice to melt away. The material also works well when spread in extremely cold temperatures, while salt will not.
Spread a thick layer of calcium chloride on your sidewalks every morning during the winter months. A slush mixture will be created only after the calcium chloride starts working, so make sure to shovel the slush away from the concrete an hour or so after you spread the material.
Business owners need to be careful to make sure that personal injuries do not occur on their properties; otherwise expensive lawsuits may be filed. Keeping sidewalks in great shape is one way to prevent slips and falls. However, if a client does bring a personal injury lawsuit against you, be sure to get the help of a lawyer from a firm like Dunnigan & Messier P.C.