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Injured Customers: A Hazard and Potential PR Mess for Small Businesses

Small businesses want to attract customers, and this means making sure that the environment that the customer enters is safe. When you have a storefront versus an online operation, it can be difficult to keep everyone safe.

Businesses have a duty to keep customer’s safe, but injuries can and do happen.

The first course of action for any business is to have business liability insurance in place. Liability insurance is a preventative measure that will protect your business from a variety of personal injury claims.

If you do nothing else, ensure that you have general liability insurance.

But as a business, you also want to train your human resources staff to handle accidents and injuries properly. This means that you’ll need to train staff to:

Conduct an Internal Investigation

A customer can say that they were injured in your place of business, but is this true? You can’t take the word of your customer as truth. Your staff needs to conduct an internal investigation that determines all of the facts.

This means:

  • Viewing any video footage of the accident
  • Interviewing the injured party
  • Interviewing any witnesses
  • Taking pictures of the accident scene
  • Video recording the accident scene

The goal is to get all of the facts, create a report of the incident and then proceed from there.

OSHA has standards that must be followed when an injury occurs. Worker injuries will also be handled differently, so it’s important to have everything in order to ensure that you have prevention programs in place.

If an internal investigation found that a product was to blame for an injury, the business has a duty to report dangerous products.

Failure to warn consumers of a dangerous product is a PR mess that can destroy a business’s brand.

Follow Company Protocol

A protocol must be in place for the company to follow. The protocol will be the backbone of what happens following the investigation. This means a system that will include the following three steps in some form:

  1. Evidence collection. The more evidence that you have, the better. Evidence allows you to gather witness statements and facts to back your position following an injury. This may even be evidence that your business should have updated protocols put in place.
  2. Reports. A customer report should be gathered and filed.
  3. Notification. Insurance companies need to be notified of the incident.

Once an insurance company is notified, the process becomes much easier on the business. You won’t need to take the lead any longer – the insurer will be the one in charge now.

Companies need to correct any dangerous condition that may exist in the workplace or retail space. Negligence, from not creating a safe environment, can lead to further injuries and costly lawsuits.

It’s up to the business to make repairs and updates to the workplace to ensure the safety of all individuals.

Areas that are hazardous or pose further risks of injuries should be cordoned off to ensure that no further injuries occur.

If a business does everything in their power to correct workplace issues, limit injuries and provide a safe work environment, they’ll be able to avoid PR mishaps and provide the best customer experience possible.