Southern Landscape Lighting Systems of Marietta, GA, installs and services residential and commercial landscape lighting systems in the metro Atlanta area. A custom architectural outdoor LED low-voltage lighting system enhances both the beauty and safety of a commercial building.
Safety Concerns in the Commercial Setting
The National Floor Safety Institute reports that falls account for eight million emergency room visits each year. Twelve percent are slip and fall accidents. Over one million people — more than two thousand people per day — go to the emergency room each year for a slip and fall accident. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average hospital cost of a slip and fall is more than $30,000. Slip and fall victims miss an average of eleven days of work. The average lawsuit settlement for a slip and fall accident is between $15,000 and $45,000, depending on the severity of the injury. Medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and incidental expenses have the potential to drive the cost so high that a business can go bankrupt. Making the office, work area, service center, or retail venue as safe as possible makes sense for the business owner or property manager.
How Landscape Lighting Can Resolve Safety Issues at Commercial Facilities
Here are the top five commercial landscape features that can present safety challenges if they are not properly lighted.
1. Handicapped ramp
The Americans with Disabilities Act began requiring handicapped ramps at public places in 1992 to accommodate persons with mobility challenges. The ramps were designed and regulated to accommodate people using walkers, wheelchairs, and motorized scooters.
Spotlights and floodlights are often relied upon to illuminate ramps and landings. However, these applications can cause glare, shadows, and dark areas that make navigating a ramp in the dark difficult and potentially dangerous. Flush-mounted floor lights and downlighting can effectively illuminate ramps. Positioning a motion sensor at the exit and egress locations ensures that the lights illuminate only when needed.
The frugal property owner may wonder about the cost of installation and operation going into the future. Every fall prevented by the ramp lighting system constitutes real savings to the business. In addition, LED lighting is one-fifth the cost of traditional lighting, and the light-emitting diodes last as long as thirty-thousand hours, far longer than any other bulbs.
Should a business illuminate a handicap ramp after dark even though the business is closed? The answer is an emphatical “yes.” The current litigious climate warrants taking precautionary measures to mitigate owner liability. Illuminating the ramp demonstrates an intent to encourage safety and prevent injuries, including a slip and fall on the ramp, walkway, gravel path, or steps.
2. Pedestrian crosswalk
A consult with Southern Landscape Lighting Systems of Marietta in conjunction with a nighttime demonstration will help the business owner or property manager visualize the full impact of strategic safety lighting solutions. Crosswalks often feature decorative stonework, stamped concrete or asphalt, and inlaid brick cobblestones. Though these decorative techniques contribute an elegant aesthetic, they also create an uneven walking surface with an increased risk of trip and fall accidents. Lighting a decorative crosswalk enables pedestrians to see raised stonework, uneven cobblestones, and damaged areas. A well-lighted crosswalk will also help oncoming traffic to spot pedestrians using the crosswalk.
Walkways, like crosswalks, often feature aesthetic enhancements such as brick bands, stamped concrete patterns, and inlaid brick. A beautifully illuminated walkway makes for a safer and more visually pleasing customer experience. An enjoyable and stress-free experience strengthens brand integrity and increases the customer’s trust in the business that provided the walkway.
Landscape architects consider beauty, functionality, and safety in their designs. A beautiful, sturdy bench attracts attention and sends an invitation to passersby to stop and enjoy the view, take care of a few last-minute details, or make a phone call. Bench placement is also driven by risk mitigation. Several benches across a property may reflect an effort to provide beautiful, functional rest points for the elderly or infirmed. Illuminating the benches highlights their aesthetic beauty and attracts the attention of people who need a moment to rest on their way to the doctor or retail outlet.
An October 9, 2017 article in Reuters News reported, “More than 1 million Americans injure themselves on stairs each year, according to a study in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine. Older adults, younger children, and women reported more injuries, but all ages show up in emergency departments for sprains, strains, bumps, and fractures.”
Steps are an accident waiting to happen. Home and business owners should make every effort to maintain safe steps, which includes measures such as:
- daily clearing the steps of debris
- removing ice and snow and applying salt when temperatures dip near freezing
- repairing damaged bricks, boards, or stones
- maintaining sturdy, smooth railings
- illuminating the walkway, the steps, and the railings
If an accident should occur on or near a handicap ramp, pedestrian crosswalk, walkway, bench, or entrance steps, efforts on the part of the facility owner, property manager, or business to make the venue safe, including the installation of outdoor architectural LED low-voltage landscape lighting, will not go unnoticed by the injured party, attorneys, or the court. Installing adequate outdoor landscape lighting at high-risk venues as an intentional element of due diligence should be a part of every business’ risk mitigation strategy.
A consult with Southern Landscape Lighting Systems of Marietta in conjunction with a nighttime demonstration will enable the property owner to see how beauty, functionality, affordability, and safety can merge into a lighting design and installation that assists customers and patrons, enhances curb appeal, and adds real value to the commercial property.