Operating a business comes with more responsibility than many people are comfortable with managing. If you own a business, you are well aware of this fact, and there are probably nights when you find it hard to sleep as all the possibilities of what could go wrong take over your thoughts. Anything could happen on any given day, and you could be sued for something that was unintentional, accidental and even avoidable. Yet, you could be proactive and get some of that sleep back by making sure your bases are covered.
Here are 5 areas where your policies and actions could protect your business from a lawsuit.
Your business probably has equipment that is necessary to your operations. If operating the equipment comes with any inherent risks, you should have that equipment inspected as often as is recommended by the manufacturer, and maybe even more.
Also, have smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and any fire sprinklers tested regularly by a licensed specialist so you can keep a record of it. Every year there are thousands of workplace injuries. Do everything you can to make sure those injuries don't happen at your business.
If an employee is hurt, document it and keep a record of what the accident was, no matter how minor, and how the employee received treatment. Even minor incidents can come back to haunt you months and even years later. Statutes of limitations vary by incident and state. Depending on both, they range anywhere between one year and exempt, though exempt is usually reserved for serious crimes.
Under the United States Department of Labor, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or more commonly called OSHA, was developed to ensure employees have an environment free of hazards, or for those who work in hazardous environments, that they receive the training they need to protect themselves from accidents. Whether your company is required to provide these trainings or not, they could be valuable if an employee is ever faced with a situation in which they're not sure what to do.
Many OSHA training courses can be completed online. They include basic safety courses such as Bloodborne Pathogens, Workplace Safety Orientation, Drug and Alcohol Abuse in the Workplace and Emergency Action Plan, just to name a few. Ensuring your employees understand basic hazards could protect you if the employee tried to sue you.
Surveys show that over 80% of women have experienced sexual harassment at some point in their careers. While it's a sad statistic, it doesn't have to happen at your business. Require that any newly onboarded employees complete sexual harassment training. Showing that your business will not tolerate sexual harassment will not only potentially protect your employees, but it could protect you in the event it happens.
No matter what size your business, you should have a general liability policy to protect you if someone is ever harmed on your premises. If a person slipped and fell inside or outside your business, you could be sued for possibly tens of thousands of dollars. Having a policy to protect you is much more affordable, as it will help cover medical expenses, court costs and settlements if a claim is brought against you. General liability insurance will not cover you from claims brought by employees.
For protection against claims brought by employees, many states require employers to purchase workers compensation insurance. Yet, there are some employees and injuries that aren't covered by workers compensation insurance. For additional coverage, purchase employers liability coverage.
There are many risks that come with owning and operating a business. There are financial risks, economic risks, reputation risks, and risks from competitors. With all the other risks you have to concern yourself with, you can minimize the risk of being sued by ensuring employees, as well as yourself, receive proper training, your assets are inspected and you have ample liability coverage.
Publish Date: August 28, 2020 9:13 PM