Keeping Your Home Business Safe

You have probably passed big signs by construction sites that brag about how many days they have gone without a work related or lost time accident. For most businesses and industries, safety is an important part of their business plan as accident costs come straight off the bottom line. Not only do you pay an insurance premium to cover accidents, before the insurance starts paying, you will incur a deductible. The insurance premium and deductible comes from the bottom line, impacting your profits.

If you conduct business in your home office, the possibility of an injury claim increases dramatically with the number of customers. It is not all about the cost as if customers to your business seem to get hurt frequently, it can have a negative effect on your reputation. People may become fearful about visiting you for fear of getting hurt. Then there are those who will come see you, actually hoping to get hurt so they might end up owning your business.

Slip and fall accidents and trips are the most common for most businesses and a home business is not immune to these claims. However, there are steps you can take to reduce the potential for liability. Remember, just because a claim is filed, does not automatically make you and your insurance company responsible for the accident. Most states have laws that protect companies from lawsuits, by mandating that people have to take a certain amount of responsibility for their own actions.

During inclement weather, a company has 24 hours from the conclusion of an event before they are considered responsible for an accident involving a build up of snow and ice in their parking lots or on their sidewalks. If a customer slips on ice in the midst of a heavy winter storm, most courts find that they ventured out at their own risk and the business should not be responsible for their decision.

However, it is in your best interest to make sure you have the materials in place to remove the risk as soon as possible. Do not get caught up in the 24hour window as your customers should be important to you and allowing one of them to hurt because its only been 10hours since the snow stopped may protect you from liability but not from the wrath of the customer.

Most claims from accidents occurring inside your office space can be eliminated if you make sure spills and trip hazards are removed as soon as they happen. Allowing a spill to remain on the floor can be considered willful negligence, making you liable for any injuries that result. If you leave a hazard on the floor without properly warning your customers that a hazard exists, you will being paying the medical expenses for someone who tripped over the hazard.

Obinna Heche. Los Angeles – California

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In the Alley Behind the Old East Liberty II (Astro Pizza)
office home business
Image by real00
Took a photographic walk along the alley behind the business district in East Liberty along Penn Avenue, a stretch that has seen many changes over the decades. I found several stupendous walls reflecting the passage of time and fashion, left raw and exposed because this is a back alley meant for deliveries, trash, etc. and no effort has been made to render them more presentable. (In this case, the front facades of the same buildings are not in especially presentable shape, either). Now that East Liberty has gone upscale in recent years, this kind of quaint connection to the past is likely to be tidied up–a sign of good times, for some anyway, and better times yet to come, but also a loss for those, like me, who find beauty in these untidy places.

This section has a nice remnant from the early 1960s, I would guess, in the Astro Pizza sign. The dull, chipped multitoned red paint on that building provides a sobering contrast to the space age optimism of the cheerfully colored pizza sign. Most recently that place was Yen’s Chinese restaurant, now closed. The building awaits demolition to clear the way for yet another bland modern building with living and office space, to be built by profit-motivated developers capitalizing on the "Target effect," the pervasive reconfiguration of the entire area that took off after the Target store opened across the street a few years ago. The rusty, worn, dead-vine-encrusted building in the middle displays a few of the black block letters from a previous generation.

As I have stated in other posts, as a resident of an adjacent neighborhood, I think much of this development is a great thing. We certainly don’t fault Target–we love having it right there 5 minutes from our house (although they probably negotiated a sweet tax deal with the city). With all the new activity, there are great stores, restaurants, cafes opening all the time. It has become a neighborhood that people with money actually want to live in, whereas in the past it was an area to be avoided, shunned, driven around (in the 1960s the business district was encircled by a wide ring road designed to enable suburban motorists to bypass the congestion and the businesses altogether, whereupon many of the businesses failed, adding to the misery). Eventually no one was ever there unless they happened to live there, in one or another of the subsidized housing projects for people with little or no income. Those projects–the state of the art in urban planning in their day–have just about all been detonated and cleared away. A few of them are still there but will be gone within a year. The ring road has been reconfigured to return the area to a semblance of what it once was, and the new businesses are thriving. The existing residents can no longer afford to live in the neighborhood that has been their home for decades. No one knows for sure where they will go. Many of them are elderly and/or disabled. Their entire family and social circles existed within this very small area. With this in mind, plus the fact that, like this wall, most of the dilapidated ties to the past will disappear, it’s not surprising that I am ambivalent about the forward march of progress.