The USA is the most litigious country in the world, but many other countries are on the rise. Taking someone to court over an issue is quickly becoming the go to attack – and many are justified. So it stands to reason that your business might face the effects of this at some point in your career. But there are many things you can do to minimise the risk of someone coming after you, and a simple, preemptive solution for if the event ever takes place.
Health and Safety
Every governing body has a minimum health and safety criteria that all businesses have to meet, and those rules will have been put there for a reason. Unfortunately a lot of businesses cut corners when they should be looking to go the extra mile. Health and safety regulations are what lies between your employees and your customers from getting seriously hurt – which would lead to a lawsuit against you. As a business owner it’s your responsibility to ensure the safety of any one who comes into your premises, and, unfortunately, you have to prepare for people who don’t use their common sense. If you work to cover all your bases, with wet floor signs, marked walkways, and signage on low ceilings, you avoid some of the most common area-related injuries.
And it’s the same when it comes to food. Any establishment that sells food or drink is under even more health and safety pressure. Even when companies try to do a good thing it can blow up in their faces. Like Starbucks in the UK who had to stop donating food to the homeless due to being sued for food poisoning. By following simple and basic food hygiene, like keeping cooked and raw meat separate, rotating stock everyday, and maintaining strict quality control with all staff members.
Something that you should have from day one is liability insurance just in case you do have a claim made against you. You get get this sort of insurance to protect you personally and your business. If you find that someone has been injured within the workplace, you need to gather what evidence you can straight away. Have the incident and details recorded immediately so that you get what happened written down before everyone forgets. If it’s an incident for which you have protect against – something simple like falling on a wet floor where there is a sign clearly displayed- then make sure you photograph it. All this evidence will help you at court. If it’s clear that you did all you can to prevent the injury from happening, it’s likely the case will be thrown out. However, if you didn’t prevent it, then you will need the lawyer you can get through your insurance. Liability insurance will also help if you need to pay sick pay for an employee, regardless of how the incident occurred.
And lastly, if your business deals with any harmful chemicals or machinery, make sure that all your staff receives the right training to deal with it, and keep the paperwork up to date. When hiring new, experienced staff, make sure you get copies of their past training and qualifications. If the job involves risk, then it’s worth putting a clause in their contract stating it – however that is a fine line, so consult a business lawyer before adding it in. Your employees rely on you to ensure their environment is safe – from PAT testing electrical equipment and regular servicing on machinery. So make sure you do just that, and again, keep the paperwork up to date as proof.