When Office Conditions Are Hazardous: Who Protects the Boss?

Lawsuits and liabilities definitely aren’t the first things that a person considers when they dream of owning their own business and being their own boss. Unfortunately, it’s a reality that they must face. Whether from an employee or customer, small business owners often face liability when injuries occur in their place of business. There are times, however, when simply being in an office building can be dangerous, even for the boss. It’s important for all who own businesses to recognize these risks and respond accordingly.

Broken windowsDangers that Business Owners Face

The only negligent parties people usually think about in office building environments are employers and workers, but the owner of the property can also cause injuries through their negligence. It is the duty of those who own and manage the property to ensure a safe environment for those who occupy offices in their building, and when they don’t, everyone, including the resident shop keeper, can suffer consequences.

  • Fire Hazards Fire hazards can be especially disastrous. If a business property is set up in any way that blocks exits, prevents early detection or creates a fire hazard, the landlord can be liable for any injuries caused by the incident.
  • Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas that can cause illness or worse in human beings. This gas can come from furnaces, gas powered engines and even refrigerators. The effects of this gas are deadly, and this applies to anyone, employee and management alike, who works in the building.
  • Undisclosed Dangers Any hazard in an office building that a property manager should have knowledge of is their direct responsibility to fix. A landlord who should’ve known that mold was growing in the duct system, for instance, could be held liable for illness related injuries that were caused due to the negligent act of not fixing the issue.

Preventing Injuries

Being proactive is the most promising way of avoiding injuries. Even though property locations are required to be safe, it never hurts for a tenant business to be vigilant in ensuring the safety of themselves and their workers. They should start by ensuring there are no fire hazards in the office.

-Check that all fire detectors are functioning properly

Ensure that any windows that are supposed to open actually do

-Make sure that no exits are blocked or sealed

-Report any electrical problem to building management immediately

There are also ways to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning or death. The easiest is to invest in a CO detector. Also, if everyone in an office starts experiencing flu-like symptoms, a carbon monoxide leak may be the culprit. It’s important to report this or any other strange occurrence or danger that exists in an office to the premises manager.

Responding to Hazards

Whether you listen to a Santa Barbara or a Syracuse personal injury lawyer, you will hear that the critically important thing to do is report any possible hazards as soon as you notice them. Unfortunately, sometimes these hazards don’t become apparent until an injury actually takes place. In these cases it’s important to find an attorney who can help with the issue since medical and office bills can quickly add up.

Business bosses have the same rights as anyone else; when they’re injured due to another’s negligence, in this case the landlord’s, they’re likely to lose considerable money and have the right to compensation. It’s sometimes difficult to prove, however, that the property owner should’ve known about the danger. This is why it’s so imperative to have an injury attorney go over the situation and figure out exactly how the claim should be handled.

Accidents can happen anywhere, and unfortunately, even when shop keepers follow all safety guidelines, injuries can occur. Many of these injuries can affect workers, clients and even the owner themselves. It’s important for them to know their rights in these situations, particularly when the injury was caused by a malfunction in office space they are leasing. Being proactive and responding accordingly are a small business boss’s best methods of protection.

A prior TV news host, Ann Bailey shares these sympathetic tips for business owners who suffer from landlord negligence. The Syracuse personal injury lawyer firm, Bottar Leone PLLC, fights strenuously for compensation and maximum support for their clients injured in office buildings or other work locations in the upstate New York area.

Photo Credit:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/benhusmann/4620235686/


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Ann Bailey is an artist and former TV journalist, and currently contributes articles in the arts, business and legal fields.

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