Slip, trip and fall accidents can happen anywhere, but one of the most common settings in California is a store. Retail outlets, shopping malls and grocery stores can contain property defects such as slippery floors or items in the walkway that could cause customer fall accidents. A bad fall can result in injuries such as broken bones, strained muscles and traumatic brain injuries. It is up to the storeowner to reasonably prevent falls. One of an owner’s related duties in California is to keep a sweep log.
The Importance of Sweep Logs
A sweep log is a rolling record of when employees of a restaurant, store or another business inspect the store and clean the floors. Sweep logs keep track of a premises’ cleanliness. Most businesses keep paper sweep logs that each employee updates as he or she cleans. Any time an employee completes a store inspection, cleaning session or repair, that employee will log the action in the sweep log. That way, the business will have a running record of if and when employees cleaned.
Sweep logs are important to a business because they hold the store accountable. They keep a paper trail of the business’s cleanliness, issues and store inspections. Hourly sweeps of the floor can help remove dangerous items and prevent trip and fall accidents. Storing information in a sweep log holds the company accountable and increases the odds of the storeowner continuing a pattern of cleanliness. Without sweep logs, employees would be more likely to skip sweeps or ignore potential customer hazards.
Although sweep logs are not legally mandatory, they are a great way for businesses to limit their liability for slip-and-fall accidents. A sweep log can encourage cleanliness and increase the number of times employees conduct visual inspections. Every time an employee inspects or cleans the premises, he or she must document it in the sweep log. Keeping a detailed safety program can encourage cleanliness and reduce the likelihood of slip-and-fall accidents.
Using Sweep Logs in Slip-and-Fall Cases
Keeping a sweep log or inspection sheets can serve as proof that the establishment took reasonable care of the store on the day a fall accident occurred. It can also prove the opposite – that the company failed to properly maintain its store or floors, and that this may have contributed to the fall. Sweep logs can become important pieces of evidence in California slip-and-fall accident claims. They can answer many questions about a case.
- Did the business take reasonable steps to prevent the fall?
- Did employees neglect to inspect the shop regularly?
- Would a reasonable and prudent shop have done more to prevent the fall?
- Did employees ignore known risks, such as items on the floor?
- Was the last sweep longer than an hour before the fall?
- Does the store have a history of negligent cleaning?
The four main elements of proof in a slip-and-fall case in California are duty, breach, causation and damages. All storeowners owe customers high standards of care – including a duty to reasonably prevent slip, trip and fall accidents. Failing to keep a sweep log or have another safety protocol in place could constitute a breach of duty. It could also be a breach if an employee negligently skipped a scheduled sweep. If the breach of duty or act of negligence caused the customer’s accident, the storeowner could be liable for damages.
How To Obtain a Sweep Log Record
If you were recently injured in a slip-and-fall accident in California, hire a personal injury attorney to help you gather available evidence against the property owner. One piece of evidence could be the sweep log, cleaning record or inspection report if you fell in a store. A lawyer can demand the store preserve and submit its sweep logs as evidence in your claim. Your attorney can then examine the sweep logs for gaps or issues, and potentially use it to take the storeowner to court in pursuit of financial recovery.