As the holidays approach, so do cold weather conditions. Many business
owners, especially those in retail, enjoy the holidays as the time where
most profits are made thanks to holiday shoppers. In scenarios like this,
owners aren’t worried about the weather. But as it starts to get
cold in Texas, there are several things business owners should do to avoid
high maintenance fees and even
personal injury lawsuits. To legally protect your business during a cold front, keep an
eye on the following:
Avoid having frozen pipes. While the science may not be the most important
thing to business owners, when water freezes it expands and can cause
the pipes in a building to burst. If this happens in your business, it
could mean flooding, water damage, destroyed merchandise,
slip and fall accidents, and costly repairs. It is recommended that indoor valves leading
to outdoor hoses be closed and outdoor valves kept open in the event of
a cold front, which will allow the pipes to drain. Pipes should be insulated,
and you might have to get crafty with pipe sleeves and heat tape if your
business is not already set up for these conditions. Additionally, run
hot water through your pipes in the evening to keep them working properly.
Clear off snow around your businesses’ walkways. Slippery conditions
due to ice may not directly be your fault, but if the injury occurs on
your businesses’ property you could be footing the bill. If a
slip and fall happens on your properly, it may be ascertained that you failed to maintain
the premise in a safe manner that could be expected of a reasonable person.
You do have reasonable time to correct these hazards, especially if there
is a danger to you when clearing them up, but stay on top of the sidewalks
and roads around your businesses and clean up any snow, ice, or extreme
puddles that could be a danger. You are not expected to maintain the property
during hours when you are clearly closed, so a youngster who trips in
the middle of the night while trespassing on your property could probably
not sue you.
Make sure you review safe driving practices with employees. For employers
who provide company cars or ask employees to venture outside for business
purposes, make sure you provide them with safe, reliable transportation.
Review the rules of safe driving and provide employees with ice scrapers
and other equipment. Emphasize how important it is to be safe, and that
you would rather they be slightly late if it means avoiding an accident
or taking caution. You could be held liable for injuries caused by an
employee who drove negligently on your watch.
As you are preparing your business for the holiday season, take note of
these tips. Business operations can be tricky, but don’t let the
cold weather negatively impact your company. If you need assistance with
your company or crafting safe policies as it becomes colder outside, call
the Kyle Law Firm today so we can discuss strategies for your specific company.