Lawsuits and claims are dirty words in the insurance business. Unfortunately, the cleaning and janitorial industry is fraught with liability risk due to the nature of the job and the high potential for losses.
Developing a risk management strategy can help your janitorial business avoid the financial worry of being sued. A crucial part of your strategy should include janitorial business insurance to protect yourself from expensive claims. Follow these tips from Insurance Canopy as you create your risk management plan.
TYPE OF INSURANCE CLAIMS JANITORIAL BUSINESSES FACE
Claims may arise from negligence or accidents. You can be proactive by carrying janitorial business insurance. Janitorial businesses are at risk because their employees often:
- Handle abrasive cleaning chemicals
- Operate power tools
- Clean public spaces
- Move heavy equipment
The most common claims janitorial businesses face are:
- Damage to customer property
- 3rd party bodily injury
- Chemical exposure
- Employee occupational injuries
With just a few tactics, you can avoid or mitigate most potential claims or lawsuits before they happen. And, if a claim or lawsuit were to occur, your risk management strategy should include your protocol for handling that situation and janitorial business insurance.
RISK MANAGEMENT STRATEGY FOR JANITORIAL BUSINESS OWNERS
Your risk management strategy should include three tactics:
Tactic #1 – Identifying Potential Risks
Employee Training: Your employees should be well-versed on how to handle equipment and the chemicals you use.
- Be sure to go over the SDS or MSDS (safety data sheets) of each chemical you use. (One key injury concern is lung and nasal passage damage from chemicals).
- Review the operating manual of any equipment or power tools used on the job.
- Overstress the importance of using the correct equipment or tool.
- Review procedures with the employee to identify hazards you need to mitigate. For example, have a sturdy stool available for a short employee who needs to reach a high spot.
Signage and Warning Devices: The American National Standards Institute A1264.2-2006 standard mandates signs and other warning devices for locations where trip and slips might occur.
Supply & Equipment Storage: Keep your storage area organized and well ventilated with the following items on hand:
- SDS sheets (follow all recommended storage guidelines and emergency spill procedures.)
- Clearly labeled supplies that outline the hazards of misuse
- Personal protective equipment such as gloves, aprons, shoe booties, and goggles
- A first aid kit
- Sink to wash up after using chemicals
Tactic #2 – Assess Risks
Property or Facilities Walk-Through: Do a preliminary walk-through of any new space you are contracted for and take notes of things that might be dangerous. Pay attention to items such as building hours and foot traffic patterns and what hazards there are that might harm someone.
Identify Who Is At Risk: Note who might be harmed by a hazard, whether it is the worker or a building visitor. Anything can cause harm, but for janitors, chemicals, electricity, ladders, tools, and wet floors are the most common causes for claims.
Tactic #3 – Determine Response
Professional Janitorial Business Insurance[a]: Be prepared to respond to a potential claim by having insurance in place to save you from financial distress. Your janitorial business insurance policy should include general liability insurance to protect you from slip and fall claims, damage to premises rented, medical expenses, and inland marine coverage for your supplies.
Workers Compensation Insurance:[b] According to ISSA, janitors and cleaners have the 16th highest injury rate of all occupations due to both physical and environmental hazards. Have workers compensation insurance in place to respond to on-the-job injuries.
Develop a Protocol: As you identify and assess risks, determine what your response will be in the event of a mishap. Educate your employees on handling these types of events, such as emergency spills, accidental exposure to fumes or chemicals, and have the appropriate tools available.
KEEPING YOUR RISK STRATEGY SPOTLESS
Review and revise your risk strategy plan each time you take on a new contract or employee. Update your janitorial business insurance policies and assess your coverage needs yearly. With janitorial business insurance from Insurance Canopy, you can choose to auto-renew your policy each year to avoid a lapse in coverage.
We hope these tips help you develop a comprehensive risk management strategy so your janitorial and cleaning business can avoid potential mishaps and insurance claims.