Client visits are an everyday occurrence for a real estate broker’s office. But what if a client trips or falls at your premises? What happens if something accidentally falls on a client while in your conference room or some other form of accident occurs? Clearly, there are risks associated with client visits. But the risks can be managed effectively if you’re aware of what to look out for — and you have risk mitigation strategies in place.
Hazards to Watch Out For
While an office may seem at relatively low risk for injury when compared to more dangerous workplaces, injuries do occur.
Some common office hazards include:
- Tripping hazards
- Poor lighting
- Temperature extremes
- Electrical hazards
- Slipping hazards in the case of spills or polished surfaces
- Manual handling hazards
- Ergonomic hazards, including unsuitable seating
- Chemical hazards, mostly pertaining to cleaning products in an office environment
- Fire hazards
- Poor sanitation
Keeping Your Office Safe for Clients
If one of your clients is injured at your office and you’re found to be liable, it can cost you thousands of dollars in damages plus medical expenses. The first step to preventing this and keeping your office safe is knowing exactly what hazards exist. While we’ve offered some suggestions, each office will have its own hazards. To identify the risks in your office, undertake regular workplace inspections. This means looking at all aspects of your office and taking note of every potential hazard.
The State of California Department of Industrial Relations has free templates available to assist with this. Not all hazards listed on the checklists will be relevant to your real estate office, but, this is a good starting point. Watching out for hazards will keep both your clients and your team safe — because you could be liable for damages for any injury occurring at your office. Do your workplace inspections quarterly to keep up with best practices in safety.
You should have safety policies and systems in place to protect the safety of clients and others in your office. These need to be communicated clearly to your team. Some real estate businesses do this in the induction process with new members of the team, while others provide information at staff meetings and team trainings. It’s a good idea to do both — and remind your team quarterly about the need to protect your clients from injury and protect the safety of other team members. This constant focus on safety will help protect your business from liability.
Tips to Avoid Client Injuries
- Make sure your office isn’t cluttered. A cluttered office means there will be tripping hazards that could pose a risk of injury.
- Ensure appropriate signage is displayed when there are wet floors or other spills, so people can avoid the area.
- Ensure appropriate and regular cleaning takes place so that the conditions within the office are not unsanitary or unhygienic
- Be sure to have adequate ventilation in the office, particularly in hot weather
- Be wary of what cleaning products you use in the office. Store these safely away from any food or beverage items and away from client access areas
- Ensure seats are comfortable (avoid very low seats which can cause problems for people with a back injury)
- Ensure there’s adequate lighting in your office. Dim lighting can be hazardous because it makes tripping hazards difficult to see.
- Tag and test all electrical items regularly to avoid electrical hazards
- Ensure emergency exits are clearly marked
- Install preventative fire equipment such as fire extinguishers and/or sprinklers
- Protect your real estate business with insurance for unforeseen client injuries or accidents
Insurance Protection for Your Real Estate Business
Contact the CRES team at 800-880-2747 for a confidential discussion about your insurance coverage. At CRES, you can get superior real estate E&O protection + ClaimPrevent® legal services. Real Estate brokers can also add Business Owner’s Policy to include general liability, buildings and property coverage, loss of business income, and much more.