What To Do If Someone Falls in Your Business

When we experience a special event in our lives, we try to memorialize every second of it, because the small details make a big difference. A slip and fall incident at your establishment is by no means worth celebrating, and you may in fact hope to forget it quickly, but that doesn’t mean the small details don’t  make a big difference. In fact, the small details you gather and take action on in the moments directly after a slip and fall accident in your restaurant can have a huge impact on your business going forward. 

Most slip and fall incidents in the hospitality industry don’t result in an injury or a claim, but sometimes they do, so it’s best to train your staff to respond to all incidents the same way every time.

Let’s take a look at some of the steps you should take if someone falls in your business. 

Get Medical Attention

The health and safety of every guest and staff member is the most important thing during any slip and fall incident. Start by rendering aid or calling 911 for help if there is a serious injury. Remove yourself, your guests, and your staff from the environment if it’s unsafe or traumatic.  

File an Incident Report

Once the scene of the incident is safe, it is time to gather your information. Having a good incident report form readily available for all staff is very important. These situations create unsettled scenes, so it’s good to provide your team with a quick guide to make sure they gather all of the right information during moments that can be stressful. 

Your incident report form should prompt them to get names and contact information of staff, customers, or other witnesses to the incident, pull hard copies of video surveillance onto a CD, thumb drive, or other digital media storage device, and even get written accounts of the incident from those at the scene. While it is important to obtain records and witness accounts of the incident, remember that this is voluntary and nobody should be forced to provide information.   

It’s best to gather written statements of the events while they are fresh on the mind of your staff and guests. Staff turnover in the hospitality industry can sometimes be high and witnesses can be hard to track down; therefore, it is good to get this information now rather than months down the road. 

Gather Additional Evidence

Even in incidents where an injury can’t be identified immediately, all incidents should be documented with a detailed report and supported by video footage and photos, as an injury could be reported or a claim may develop later on down the road.

With a smartphone in the hands of nearly everyone today, it is much easier to get pictures of the scene and the surrounding area in the moments after a slip and fall. If any property or equipment was involved in the incident, it is always good to either preserve or document the equipment’s condition  until the investigation is complete. Sometimes the incident is a result of a defective chair, equipment, or other product, so saving that evidence could be very important. 

Report Your Claims Early

Finally, report the incident to your agent and insurance carrier as soon as possible. Timely claims reporting provides the best results for all parties involved. This helps our claims folks establish communication with the claimant, which helps facilitate treatment and getting them back up to speed as quickly as possible. The goal is to mitigate an incident in the best way possible for everyone involved and prompt communication with detailed information will yield the best possible outcome for all. 

Is Your Business Prepared to Deal with an Employee or Customer Slip and Fall? 

We all work hard to provide the safest environment possible, yet accidents still happen. How we respond to them can have a positive impact on the outcome. Society Insurance’s risk control team is always available to help you establish a good accident reporting and investigation program for your operation, so we can make sure the health and safety of every customer and employee is priority number one. Society Insurance believes that our Small Details, Big Difference approach will benefit you too. To learn more about getting the coverage you need, contact your local agent today. 

Author

Shelby has a master's degree from St. Louis University's School of Public Health. He has worked as a Risk Improvement Representative for Society Insurance since 2010. Shelby has been a safety and risk management resource for contractors, supermarkets, convenience stores, the hospitality industry, health care and higher education. He is a member of the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) and the Insurance Loss Control Association (ILCA).

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