When you own or manage a commercial property, one factor that should always be on your mind is the safety of anyone working on or visiting the premises — the outdoors included. In addition to being an ethical and practical concern, this is also a legal one; you don’t want to get slapped with a slip-and-fall lawsuit when a little planning could have avoided the unfortunate event altogether. Here are three factors that can help people navigate the space outside your property safely:
- Proper Outdoor Lighting
Depending on what your property is used for (or if it’s located somewhere with short winter days), it’s very likely you’ll have people coming and going when it’s dark. That makes it vital to incorporate lighting into the landscaping design. Any areas with level changes, no matter how slight, should get some extra light, on top of the ambient light illuminating the area. It may also be helpful to use extra lighting on pathways made of unusual materials, such as cobblestones, or to simply replace them with a smoother walkway type.
- Ramp and Stair Handrails
First of all, you should look up requirements set in place by the Americans With Disabilities Act to make sure your building is accessible and convenient for a wide variety of visitors. But even a little common sense goes a long way. You should have adequate handrails for ramps and stairways, and make sure handrails start before the actual level change so as to help people with poor eyesight (or even people who are being inattentive) recognize that they’ll need to navigate a change coming up.
- Snow and Ice Removal
Commercial snow removal is an important part of keeping any property safe and accessible. When you’re choosing commercial snow removal services, be sure to thoroughly investigate the background of any company you’re considering, and negotiate a specific contract stating the snowfall levels and times that will trigger plowing. Often, local landscapers will supplement their business in the winter by offering plowing, so you may be able to use the same company that handles your outdoor space in the summertime. This is ideal, since you’ll have a long-term relationship assuring you of the way the company treats its customers.
Do you have any tips on choosing commercial snow removal companies, or other ideas on how to improve the safety of outdoor commercial space? Discuss in the comments.