Every business environment presents potential safety hazards, from wet floors and loose carpeting to broken pavement and wobbly wall fixtures. In the case of self-storage, facility operators must guard against accidents that can occur to tenants, visitors and staff. All of the above risks apply as well as perils including faulty access gates and malfunctioning unit doors. These items not only pose a threat to people's physical safety, they can become a financial threat to the business if they lead to a lawsuit.
To learn about the biggest safety hazards faced by owners and managers, Inside Self-Storage reached out to members of the Self-Storage Talk online community. We asked them about onsite dangers as well as instances in which they or a customer were injured on the property. See if any of these apply to you. If you'd like to add an experience to the ongoing conversation, visit the thread, "What are your biggest safety hazards on site?"
What are the top physical safety hazards at your self-storage property?
I have a commercial loading dock, used by several of my tenants and the businesses at the front of the shopping center, which presents some unique hazards I wish both the landlord and my employer would address. The loading ramps are of the spring-operated type and can seriously injure an uneducated user. I try my best to train my tenants on the proper/safe way to use them, but I have no control over most people that use them. There are no safety rails/chains installed to prevent someone from walking/falling off the dock, and lighting is totally inadequate. Another area of concern is the main entrance gate; it has no provision to stop someone from being struck or pinned by the closing gate. My concerns are always met with the cheap-assed owner reply of "too expensive" or the like.
~Senior Member FHARumRunner
Customers! Just kidding. Some of our safety hazards come from tenants thinking they can change their oil in their car and leave the rags and filters on the roadway. It has also happened that they spill something in their unit and swept it out into the hallways. Other than that, we have been pretty lucky of not having any safety issues.
~Senior Member LockItUpOgden
After more than 23 years in business, we've had our first slip and fall this February. The dust hasn't settled yet, but long story short, a 75-year-old woman with two prior back surgeries was walking while watching her feet. She ran into an air-conditioning unit that sticks out of the wall 16 inches and fell backward. That AC unit's been there more than 10 years without incident. The customer told our insurance lady that the ADA rule is that nothing can extend more than 4 inches from a wall. Now we have to research the ADA rules to see if we're in violation or if she's misinformed. It's tough to idiot-proof your entire facility, but if you've identified an obvious hazard, it has got to be addressed immediately!
~Junior Member Trudy D
Has anyone, whether an employee, customer or trespasser, ever injured themselves at your facility? What happened and how did you remedy the situation?
I had a customer walk under the arm gate as the arm was coming down so it would bop her on the head once. She was pissed because I wasn't waiving late fees or pro-rating rent (it's in the contract that we do not do these things), and he filed a suit against us later.