While running your business, you might occasionally encounter situations where customers must operate machinery. It might be as simple as allowing customers to brew their own coffee in your restaurant or cut their own keys in your hardware store. Everywhere, self-service shopping is becoming more common, particularly in this age of social distancing.
When you allow customers to interact with your machinery, you hope that these interactions will go off without a hitch. Still, you cannot ignore the fact that by allowing customers to use your equipment, they might sustain injuries—even from the most unlikely sources.
What can you do to protect customers from equipment injuries? How should you react if the worst ever does occur?
Preventing Customer Injuries from Equipment
Any time one of your clients handles one of your pieces of equipment, there is a chance that machinery could harm them—either through misuse or an undiscovered flaw. Indeed, any piece of machinery could harm a customer even when they are not directly interacting.
However, should equipment injuries occur on your property, you must be ready to take responsibility for them. Regardless of whether the accident was your fault, customers could still blame you for them, and you might have to pay for the costs of the customer’s recovery.
Rather than face the consequences, it is a lot easier to take practical steps to reduce injury risks.
- Certain items are only meant for professional use. For example, only trained operators should drive forklifts in hardware stores. If a piece of machinery is not appropriate for customer use, restrict access to these items.
- Routinely service and inspect all machinery in the business. If it has faults, or needs regular maintenance, make sure it receives attention.
- Respond immediately to customer complaints of malfunctioning machinery.
- Place instructions and warning notices on sensitive machinery. Customers should know when and how to avoid risky maneuvers.
Handling Customer Injury Claims
In your café, you provide an urn of boiling water to allow customers to brew their own tea. However, the urn’s spout has significant pressure, and can emit a large amount of water if not used correctly. Therefore, there is a risk of a customer being burned by the water emanating from the spout.
If a worst-case scenario arises, then the café will have to respond to the injured customer’s complaints. They might demand compensation for their medical bills or lost income, and some will even sue you. At this point a benefit known as general liability insurance can come to your aid. Liability insurance will provide the benefits necessary to compensate the injured customer, while also covering any legal fees that you might face because of a lawsuit.
All businesses need distinct types of liability insurance. Talk to your insurance agent about specific machinery you have in your business, and the damage it can do to customers. With a little attention, you can guarantee you will not miss valuable protection.