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Is Your Business Parking Lot Safe?

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Is Your Business Parking Lot Safe?

Each year, more than 50,000 accidents occur in parking lots and garage structures according to the National Safety Council. These accidents are responsible for over 60,000 injuries and more than 500 deaths, primarily the result of careless driving. According to a 2016 NSC Poll, two out of every three people are less than attentive when driving in a parking lot.

“People have their heads down, they’re on their phones whether they’re behind the wheel or whether they are pedestrians,†said NSC president, Deborah Hersman, noting that even for people driving at low speeds in a parking lot, doing so while distracted is dangerous.

Business owners may potentially be held legally liable if an accident occurs on a company-owned parking lot. Whether the person is exiting or entering a vehicle, walking or driving, their safety is your concern. Matters become even more complicated if that person should happen to be an employee, as it’s considered by OSHA to be a reportable incident.

In an effort to reduce the risk of an avoidable accident happening in your parking lot, here are three helpful things to keep in mind:

Parking Lot Design

Safe parking lots begin with good designs that can accommodate both vehicles and pedestrians safely. According to the National Safety Council, parking areas should be fully enclosed by either a curb or fence. Entrances and exits should be clearly marked and, when possible, oriented so that they encourage right turns both in an out of the lot.

Parking areas should have sufficient lighting and proper lane markings. This means solid or dashed yellow lines to denote traffic flowing in opposite directions and white dashed lines to signify more than one lane traveling in the same direction.

If possible, sidewalks and walkways should be installed to help channel foot traffic. Pedestrians are most at risk in an accident and, according to the NSC, least likely to be paying attention.

Slow Things Down

Parking lots have limited visibility due to parked vehicles and multiple turns encountered in them. Every location is different, but the slower speed limit the better; 5 to 10 mph is sufficient in most parking areas. In some areas, local authorities will be happy to enforce laws on your property, but depending on your location, they may require your permission.

Speed limits should be posted in clear view and strictly enforced either by the local authorities writing citations, company disciplinary actions or both. Speeding should be considered a major safety violation and handled as such.

Use the Necessary Signage

Signs that enforce important rules can make all the difference in a parking lot. People must be reminded to keep off electronic devices, stay buckled-in, look out for pedestrian traffic and be aware of other appropriate warnings to avoid a problematic situation.

In parking areas that may be confusing, arrows should denote proper traffic flow patterns. Standard roadway signage, such as stop and yield signs, should also be used. Not all people choose to drive cars. Your parking lot should have a clearly marked zone reserved for bicycles and motorcycles. When possible, this area should be close to the entryway to minimize the time these smaller vehicles are exposed to heavier cars and trucks. Signage should be posted making it clear that all modes of transportation are expected follow the rules of the road.

Other signs that prove useful for pedestrians are those that warn of possible slip, trip and fall hazards. This is especially important during inclement weather conditions.

All signs should be simple and use familiar verbiage or symbols. One symbol or no more than two words is best.

As a business owner, you carry many responsibilities including the safety of the people on your property. With so many accidents occurring in parking areas each year, the likelihood that one will occur on your site is fairly high.

Make sure your business is properly covered – get a quote today!


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