The Good Steward

From the Claims Desk: Slip-and-Fall Prevention

April 2021

It’s a sad reality that fewer people are attending church due to the pandemic. But according to Sam Carucci, Vice President, Claims, for the Church Insurance Companies, now is the perfect time to do a thorough inspection of your property for slip-and-fall hazards.

“You have the opportunity to evaluate what needs to be done. It should not cost a lot if you’ve been maintaining your property on a regular basis. This could even be a good volunteer opportunity because most repairs will take place outside and can be done while social distancing,” he says.

Outside In

Most of Church Insurance’s slip-and-fall claims come from sidewalks, stairs, and parking lots. Sam suggests that you start your inspection at the perimeter of the property and work inward.

“Look at the concrete and asphalt. See where hydrostatic pressure may have caused concrete to buckle, crack, or create potholes. And don’t be afraid to use your imagination,” he says, by thinking of all the places where someone could fall.

“As you make your way to the building, start to look up, as well as down. Runoff from a defective gutter might cause water to pool, for example. If you cannot fix something right away, spray it with orange paint, so people can see that they should be careful.”

Put down mats in entranceways to prevent water tracking and slippery floors. Sam tells a story of a claim where a visitor fell because water pooled in an outdoor stairwell. “The water collected because of a design defect, but a mat to soak up the water might have helped,” he says.

If Someone Falls

Despite your best efforts, falls can happen. Sam says it’s important to document the circumstances around the incident, and without delay! “Take pictures right away of the area where the fall occurred. People remember things differently; photos can help tell an accurate story,” he says.

He also suggests obtaining statements from witnesses in order to get the facts straight.

“Slip-and-fall injuries can be severe, especially with the aging of your population,” Sam says. “It’s important to safeguard your property—and keep up your vigilance.”

If you would like to discuss your limits, contact your representative.