Hosting a holiday party this season? Remember: The Ontario Occupiers’ Liability Act makes you responsible for maintaining reasonably safe premises. This includes protecting guests from potential hazards.
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Below are seven tips for hosting a safe party and reducing the chances of accidents and injuries occurring on your property:
1. Clear walkways of snow and ice
Winter weather can lead to dangerous slip and fall hazards. Remove all accumulated snow and ice from walkways, sidewalks, stairs and parking lots/spaces/driveways to provide guests with a clear, safe path. Salt steps and walkways to help prevent those surfaces from freezing over.
2. Lock pets away for the duration of the party
Pet owners are liable for their animals’ behavior – this includes any bites, scratches or other encounters with party guests. Even the nicest, most docile pet can bite or scratch if it feels threatened or intimidated by unfamiliar people.
Even when “attacks” aren’t an issue, a pet underfoot in a highly trafficked area could be a trip and fall hazard. Play it safe and give your pets a room to themselves for the duration of the party.
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3. Limit alcohol
Consider hosting an alcohol-free event or one with limited available alcoholic beverages. This reduces the chances of in-home accidents, such as slips and trips. Instead, occupy guests with activities like games or dancing.
Limiting the availability of alcohol may reduce the odds of guests driving while intoxicated. Consider offering a spare bedroom or couch or the number of a taxi service for any guests who choose to drink.
4. Safely stow away potential toxins
Are young children included on the guest list? Be certain to place cleaning products and other potential hazards in cabinets with child-safe locks. No matter the age of your guests, lock up all prescription drugs in an area inaccessible to party guests.
5. Provide adequate lighting
Dim lights may help to set the mood, but inadequate lighting makes it difficult for guests to navigate your home and avoid slip and trip hazards. Be especially conscious of lighting outdoor areas, such as the steps leading to your front door, and parking areas.
6. Have a first aid kit handy
Be prepared in case of minor injuries, such as cuts and scrapes. Stock your bathroom or kitchen with a well-supplied first aid kit, including bandages, antiseptic, non-latex gloves and other materials.
7. Remove all slip and fall and trip and fall hazards
Slip and fall and trip and fall accidents are among the most common sources of occupiers/premises liability claims. Go through your home and yard to remove or remedy all potential slip and trip hazards. For example, remove small throw rugs, which may bunch up and cause a tripping hazard. Provide a mat – with traction – where guests safely can remove snow and ice from shoes. Be on the lookout for other obstacles, like misplaced cords or wires, toys, clothes, shoes and other objects that can catch a guest’s foot and cause an accident.
Were you injured while attending a gathering or holiday party on someone else’s property? Contact the Preszler Law Firm to learn about your options for compensation. Schedule a free case evaluation – 1-800-JUSTICE® or via our online form.