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Prevent falls—and legal action!

Did you know that you can be held responsible for bodily injury caused by a fall in your place of business? Taking preventive measures can help keep customers, suppliers and employees safe and prevent negative consequences for you, including a possible civil liability claim.

Floors and floor coverings

  • Make sure floor coverings are in good condition—not damaged or blocked by any objects.
  • Apply anti-slip wax, especially on vinyl tiles, terrazzo, marble or granite.
  • If needed, identify dangerous areas by putting up a “Slippery Floor” sign.
  • Place absorbent rubber mats or rugs in strategic locations such as store entrances, especially in winter.


  • Differences in floor level where there are only a few steps should be clearly indicated (with a yellow strip, for example), because the eye doesn’t always pick up small variations.
  • Any damaged or unstable steps should be repaired promptly.
  • Make sure stairs are never blocked.
  • If needed, install non-slip material to make stairs less slippery.
  • Remove any accumulation of snow or ice as quickly as possible. Sand or salt to de-ice slippery steps and landings, or if you expect the temperature to drop below freezing.

Sufficient lighting

  • Pay attention to high-traffic areas, but also to garages, hallways, fire escapes, service rooms, storage rooms, laundry rooms and washrooms.
  • For safe evacuation in the event of an electrical breakdown, install automatic emergency lighting using a generator.
  • Make sure there is adequate lighting for outdoor walkways and parking areas so building occupants and visitors can safely get where they need to go and to reduce the risk of falls. Lights should be on from dusk to dawn and controlled by photocells or timers.
  • Fix any problems immediately (e.g., burned bulb, shattered lamp or defective equipment).

Sidewalks, walkways and outdoor parking

  • Keep sidewalks, walkways and outdoor parking areas in good condition.
  • Mark steps and sudden elevation changes in yellow, and install a guardrail in areas that present a risk of injury from falls.
  • As with stairs, remove any accumulation of snow or ice as soon as possible. Sand or salt to de-ice sidewalks, walkways and parking areas that are slippery or are becoming slippery.

Safety is a priority

Accidental falls can cause fractures, sprains and other injuries. They’re the main cause of accidents in many types of establishments, including apartment buildings, seniors’ residences, daycare centres, office buildings, hotels, restaurants and other businesses. Invest in safety!

Source :

Based on the advice of Jean-Jacques Fournel, prevention expert.

Check out our other prevention fact sheets:

Liability issues for retail stores

The more customers you have, the more likely an incident will occur…

Cleanliness and safety of premises and activities

Reduce risks of injuries and the spread of disease in change rooms, showers and washrooms…

Want to learn more?

See our complete list of prevention fact sheets.

These tips are provided for information purposes only. They are general in nature, and Desjardins Insurance cannot be held liable for them. We recommend using caution and consulting an expert for comprehensive, tailored advice.

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