Taking preventative action and understanding coverage options can help you protect your bottom line.
- Reduce the risks for your business
- Managing business property risks
- Fleet or commercial vehicle risks
- Liquor liability
- Slips, trips and falls
- Special events
- Sports and recreation
Reduce the risks for your business
Managing risk, controlling costs and safeguarding operations are essential to every business’ success. Here are some actions you can take to help minimize the likelihood of things going wrong.
Choose a commercial insurance agent or broker who knows your type of business and is willing to invest the time and effort to understand your specific needs.
Work with your insurance representative to identify potential losses that could critically threaten your business and then get coverage that meets those needs.
Identify and analyze direct, as well as indirect loss exposures, such as:
physical property, such as buildings, stock, contents and equipment
valuable information that’s critical to your business operations
cost of repairing or replacing damaged property or equipment
loss of revenue and extra expenses in the event of a business interruption
risks where you could be held liable for damage or injury
Examine the feasibility of alternative risk management techniques. Ask your insurance representative for information about appropriate risk management activities.
Select the best risk management techniques and/or actions.
Implement techniques and/or actions, such as:
install approved sprinklers, intruder alarms and fire alarms
secure all doors, windows, skylights, storage and low-traffic area
isolate flammable materials and properly dispose of waste materials
leave some lights on and windows clear so interiors are viewable
encourage employees to be watchful and careful
register emergency contact info with police and fire departments
consider hiring a security guard when conditions warrant
Document, monitor and review your plan regularly. Having an effective risk management plan in place can also:
save resources such as time, assets, income, property and people
protect your business’ reputation and public image
prevent or reduce liabilities and increase operational stability
protect people and the environment from harm
put continuity plans in place for the most likely loss scenarios
assist in clearly defining insurance needs
While it's not possible to eliminate all potential risks, having a documented, regularly updated risk management plan is a commitment to loss reduction and prevention. It can help make your business a better risk to insure and even reduce your premium. Talk to your insurance representative about coverage and risk management best practices that suit your industry.
Business premises and liability risk management
Managing property risks that could have the most significant cost or negative impact is important. Use these tips to keep your property – and the people on it – safe:
Create policies and procedures for handling the property of others. Keep property in a secure area. Ensure property you do not own is returned to the correct owner.
Keep people safe. Don’t allow visitors, clients or customers into restricted areas. Ensure all premises – including parking lots and sidewalks – are well lit, neat and tidy and regularly inspected and maintained.
Pre-inspect property belonging to a third party before assuming custody. Take photos, document condition, make note of any needed repairs or replacement and ensure the property owner and user sign and have copies of the inspection form.
Conduct a final inspection and compare conditions with the pre-inspection with the owner before returning the property. Sign and keep a copy of the final inspection form.
Ensure enough trained employees and/or volunteers are on duty to protect visitors, clients or customers from potential harm.
Give adequate warning.
place warning labels on potentially hazardous products
place signs to deter visitors, clients or customers from restricted areas
provide instructions on how to operate equipment, handle materials and/or products, etc.
Regardless of how many commercial vehicles are part of your business operations, it’s your responsibility to manage risk. Be proactive and use these risk management tips.
Know your fleet’s losses. This includes types, causes, sources, number and cost of losses as well as the frequency and severity of risks, trends and benchmarking with those of others in your industry.
Create fleet policies and procedures that include:
a motor vehicle safety policy that establishes the organization’s safety philosophy and driver performance standards
vehicle selection and acquisition policies that establish minimum safety requirements
a preventive maintenance program. Schedule and document regular inspections and service as well as follow maintenance schedules specified in each vehicle’s operating manual
driver screening and hiring policies – minimum years of related experience, a maximum number of traffic violations and other standards
a detailed list of unauthorized activities, such as driving while impaired, personal use of business vehicles and driving outside of specific geographical areas
driving standards such as a night driving policy, maximum speeds and safe following distances, fuel storage and disposal instructions, parking and reversing procedure
Get your drivers involved in risk management. Require drivers to read provided manuals and abide by all policies and procedures. Ensure all drivers:
know current documented standards. Ensure they get policy or procedure changes and sign to acknowledge their understanding and responsibilities
are focused on safety. Ask drivers for feedback on how to improve fleet safety. Ensure drivers receive regular training and refresher courses. Recognize drivers for maintaining safe driving records
are prepared for a collision. Ensure drivers know what do to if they’re involved in an incident and how to contact their supervisor and emergency services. Make sure appropriate emergency supplies are stored in all vehicles
Prevent after-hours theft. Ensure vehicles are stored in a safe place. Be proactive and install alarm systems, lock vehicle doors, ensure valuables aren’t in plain view. Maintain safe indoor storage systems – ventilation, fire suppression systems, fire alarms and other safeguards – for all vehicles. Consider using different buildings or storage locations to separate vehicles.
It’s important to understand and manage your liquor liability. Make sure you have these measures in place:
Create and strictly enforce written policies and procedures. Some elements include:
complying with age of majority rules, limiting alcohol consumption and prohibiting service to obviously intoxicated people
obtaining and displaying permits to sell or serve alcohol
offering food service
requiring experienced bartenders and trained staff to watch people leave as well as encourage, assist with or insist on taxi/ride-sharing use when appropriate
frequently reminding guests not to drink and drive and informing them that intoxicated persons will be put into taxis or a ride-sharing option
providing reduced/subsidized taxi or hotel rates and encouraging designated-driver programs
Ensure and document that servers and bartenders complete and comply with your organization’s policies and procedures, required government alcohol education programs, legislation and regulations.
Implement a mandatory identification policy to verify age. Establish and document acceptable forms of identification and when it needs to be shown.
Display government policies and legislation related to alcohol and inform customers that the business abides by rules set out by the government.
Implement inventory controls over alcohol and measures to prevent theft such as installing security cameras, hiring additional personnel, etc.
Establish and document hours to sell or serve alcohol. Check with your local authority to determine minimum standards.
If you’re renting out a property where alcohol may be consumed, make sure you include contractual clauses to protect yourself from losses or damages. Or require the party renting your property to carry liquor liability insurance. Consult a lawyer for advice on contracts and rental agreements.
Consult with your insurance representative about obtaining insurance coverage, possibly with higher coverage limits.
Comply with provincial regulations and consider a zero tolerance alcohol and drug policy for staff. Don’t allow employees and/or volunteers to:
consume alcohol or drugs while working
drink and drive
work if they are or appear intoxicated
Source: Compiled with Canadian Risk Intervention Inc.
Occupiers liability is another name for the risk of a slip, trip and fall incident. As a business owner, you’re responsible for keeping your property and areas such as stairs, walkways, driveways and parking lots reasonably safe for people who use them. Ensure regular maintenance standards are set and met. Be on the lookout for common hazards and act quickly to fix risks such as:
Ice and snow. Use salt/sand and shovel to keep walking surfaces clear within bylaw timeframes and/or local best practices and document when this was done
Steps, slopes and gaps. Fix unexpected elevation changes, surface cracks or gaps within your property line and/or report issues on municipally-owned property such as uneven sidewalks
Slippery or wet flooring surfaces. Put down a non-slip covering
Missing or loose stair handrails. Arrange for repairs or replacement
Seasonal debris such as slippery and wet fall leaves. Keep walking paths clear of hazards
Lighting. Ensure all areas are adequately lit
Being aware of the many risks involved with hosting or sponsoring special events is important. Be proactive in identifying and managing key risks such as:
Legal liability. As an occupier of an owned or rented premise, you and your organization are responsible for the safety of those who attend the premises. Occupiers must protect patrons from all foreseeable harm. You must take extra precautions if:
alcohol is served
children/minors are in attendance
the event includes potentially dangerous or hazardous activities such as fireworks, boating and some sports
gambling is involved
large crowds are in attendance
Injury risks. It’s possible that employees, volunteers and members of the general public who attend may be injured during the special event. Special events often include high-risk activities such as alcohol service, fireworks, children's rides or games, etc.
Contact your insurance representative with details about the event. They can determine if your existing coverage is adequate for the event and provide required certificates of insurance.
Government liability requirements. Obtain applicable permits from your municipal and/or provincial government to reduce liability risks that relate to violations involving permits. Business insurance doesn’t pay for fines. Health requirements should also be followed. Contact your local government for more information about your business or non-profit’s responsibilities as a special event host.
Reputation risks. If situations are not handled well, your business or non-profit’s reputation may be damaged. Being proactive and following risk management best practices can help prevent damage to your brand.
Financial risks. Special events hosted by your non-profit often require a large amount of funding. Careful administration and thoughtful risk management can help ensure a successful event as well as align with your financial supporters’ expectations of your non-profit.
Source: Compiled with Canadian Risk Intervention Inc.
Due to the nature of risks involved with physical activities sports and recreation programs can be a source of many liabilities including bodily injuries to participants and spectators. Key liabilities to be aware of are:
Occupiers' liability. Occupiers are people who own the premises, have possession of it or have responsibility and control over it. They must keep the premises reasonably safe to prevent injury.
Vicarious liability. An organization may be liable for the negligent actions of its employees and/or volunteers.
Implementing proactive risk management strategies for sports and recreation events can reduce or mitigate liabilities. Use these risk management tips.
Confirm the facility’s design is appropriate for the people who use it. Ensure facilities and equipment are regularly inspected for damage and repaired or replaced as necessary.
Develop, follow and document inspection protocols and reporting standards. Ensure qualified inspectors perform regular inspections, in addition to informal inspections. Conduct follow-up inspections of completed repairs.
Train inspectors and/or employees and volunteers in inspection standards, use of maintenance tools and safety protocols.
Implement employee and volunteer policies and standards such as:
criminal background checks for employees and volunteers working with vulnerable populations
adequate and continuous training in first aid, coaching as well as organization policies and procedures
screening patrons for health limitations that may make it unsafe for them to participate
emergency and accident-response procedures. Provide all staff and volunteers with copies of and training in these procedures. Conduct drills to test these procedures
Adhere to national, provincial or other governing-body regulations and legislation concerning the conduct of operations.
Follow, develop and document safety protocols as well as hazard reporting requirements for employees and volunteers. Ensure that:
Facilities and grounds are pre-inspected for obvious hazards and usage areas are constantly maintained. Ensure all equipment meets standards set by the CSA Group. Know and follow manufacturers’ requirements for service intervals and life expectancy of the equipment.
Signs are posted that indicate hours of operation, operating procedures, where problems or concerns should be reported and any other relevant information. Use signs – with symbols, French and English text – to warn patrons of any hazards.
Users wear appropriate clothing and proper protective equipment.
Waivers or informed consent forms are used. Consult with a lawyer to develop legal forms to protect your organization from liabilities. If these forms can’t be used, use a sign-in log to identify potential hazards to which people may be exposed and keep track of users as well as usage times and dates.
Determine and follow appropriate supervisor-to-user ratio for different sports and recreation activities.
Dangerous hazards are quickly identified and removed. Damaged or defective equipment is repaired or removed and any equipment or facility that fails to meet internal or external standards is immediately shut down.
First aid kits, fire extinguishers and other safety equipment is easily accessible and in good condition.
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