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Commercial facilities have duty to keep floors safe for patrons

When New Jersey residents head to the grocery store, many make a list of things they will get while in the establishment. They may have milk, eggs, chicken, lettuce, shampoo or toothpaste on their list, but what most people do not include in their expectations is an injury from a slippery floor.

Injuries suffered in a slip and fall accident are often very serious. Even though you may only fall a few feet, landing on your hip or your butt can actually cause serious injuries, including paralysis, head injuries or back injuries that could leave you in pain and out of work. But how much do you or most people know about what duty employers have when it comes to protecting patrons from the painful repercussions of a fall?

First of all, a safe floor is not just one that is free of spills and debris. The floor itself must not be a danger to patrons. In fact, for the cleaning and operations sector, the National Floor Safety Institute requires that the surface be one that is considered "high-traction" and not just "slip-resistant."

Not only should a company have the intent to keep floors clean and clear, but they should actually have policies and procedures that help catch dangerous conditions before they are noticed by a patron, or worse, cause injury to someone. The NFSI even provides a course for safety certification of products used in commercial facilities such as floor coverings, mats, polishes, finishes, treatments and more to help reduce accidents.

It is the duty of the commercial facility to keep their floors safe for patrons; it is not the responsibility of the patron to know where danger may lurk. If you are injured in a commercial facility, you may be eligible for compensation for your injuries.

Source: Seattle PI, "The Healthy Facilities Institute (HFI) Launches Slip and Fall Prevention Survey," May 15, 2012

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