As a business owner, you owe a certain level of responsibility to your customers and employees anytime they’re on your property (not just inside your building). This includes the parking lot.
Here are several smart and proactive steps you can take to ensure your parking lot is safe and secure for everyone.
1.Maintain Your Asphalt
Asphalt pavement is the preferred material for parking lots because of its durability and cost-effectiveness. And while it’s a very strong material choice capable of withstanding years of heavy loads, hot sunlight, and other elements, it does require some ongoing maintenance from time to time.
Cracks are very common with asphalt parking lots. And while they might not seem like a big deal, you shouldn’t let them linger too long without being addressed. Asphalt paving and repair experts should be called in regularly to perform crack sealing, patching, and/or milling to prevent further water penetration and erosion (which can destabilize the base and subgrade underneath the surface).
2. Remove Tripping Hazards From Sidewalks
When it comes to sidewalks, stairs, and other walkways around your parking lot, you have to be especially mindful of tripping hazards. This could include holes, rocks, debris, poles, or even shifting concrete and uneven joints. Curbs are another problem area. Make sure they’re safely painted or marked so that people are aware of the elevation change.
If you’re in an area where there is lots of ice and snow, your stairs probably need some type of anti-slip material and/or extra grooves in the concrete to provide additional traction. The same goes for handrails.
3. Install and Maintain Handrails
Speaking of handrails, you should have them any time there’s a significant level change (as well as for stairs and ramps). Handrails should be properly installed by licensed contractors and fastened at the appropriate height. Check your handrails frequently, as they can easily become loose (at which point they lose their effectiveness).
If you have elevated portions of your parking lot and/or surrounding sidewalks, guardrails should be installed to prevent people from unintentionally slipping and falling. They should be installed and maintained just like your handrails.
4. Invest in Clear Signage
Commercial building parking lots face several requirements for signage. And while they may vary from one city or county to the next, they typically include things like:
- Accessible parking spot signs (like handicap and van-accessible parking spaces)
- Parking lot exit signs
- No parking/tow zone signs
- Fire lane signs
You may also want to include directional signage, customer parking only signage, employee-only parking signage, reserved parking signage, etc. The point is, if you want people to follow a certain rule, it needs to be displayed for all to see.
5. Take Premises Security Seriously
You might not be in a high-crime area, but parking lots are still magnets for unwanted activity. The best security strategy is a proactive one. This means implementing a premises security plan, even if you haven’t had any issues in the past.
The best premises security solutions are bright lighting and the presence of security cameras (real, or otherwise). If you want to take things up a notch, you can pay for access control or gates. And in situations where you think it’s necessary, a paid security guard can add an additional layer of protection against mischievous behavior.
6. Prepare for Inclement Weather
Have a plan for inclement weather like ice, snow, and even heavy rainfall. If snowfall is common in your area during the colder months, you might want to hire a sweeping service. You should also be prepared with your own basic supplies (like salt, snow shovels, etc.).
Make Your Parking Lot Safe
Parking lot safety isn’t one of those things you dream about when falling asleep. And it probably isn’t the first thing on your mind when you wake up on a Monday morning. But if you don’t take it seriously, it could be. If not properly monitored and maintained, things like injuries, lawsuits, and criminal activity can become major thorns in your side.
It’s time to give parking lot safety the attention it deserves. From maintaining your asphalt to knowing how to properly handle inclement weather like ice and snow, a sound parking lot safety strategy will allow you to focus on what truly matters: Building your brand and growing your business.