Premises Liability

A beautiful luxury hotel; the entrance hallway is covered with marble floors cleaned and polished on a daily basis, fancy staircases requiring the presence of pillars to support the immensity of the room, and an indoor fountain. While all of these attributes might sound like the perfect destination/place for some people, this is also the perfect destination to accumulate safety hazards. When designing and developing any premises, the primary focus should be directed to the maximum control of any potential safety hazards. While the importance of the aesthetically pleasing design of a space is understandably of importance in some places more than others, safety is often overlooked and/or neglected. While some potential hazards such as slippery surfaces due to the choice of flooring are universally applicable, other potential hazards may arise with the specific intended use of premises. Those include premises intended to host large numbers of individuals at a single time, or specific population such as the elderly or children. Failure to address those potential issues might results in accidents such as trips and falls or slips and falls with consequences ranging from minor bruising and scratches to serious life altering injuries or potential death.

Safety hazards are often assessed by NBI’s experts in one of two ways:

Premises risk assessment: NBI’s experts work on a regular basis to perform risk assessment within premises. Our experts are able to do so through deep knowledge of test methods, guidelines, practices and criteria that have been developed by organizations aiming to increase safety within premises such as the ASTM’s (American Society for Testing and Materials) Pedestrian/Walkway and Footwear Committee in which a number of them serve as committee members and participate to the development and publication of standards.

Our experts are qualified and trained to pay attention to every little detail that might make the difference between safe and unsafe premises and are able to provide both risk assessments report and analyze incidents related to premise safety.

Incident’s investigation: Our experts are also able to perform analysis of incidents within premises as a result of the presence of potential safety hazard(s). Let’s consider the example of the marble covered entrance hallway. Despite daily cleaning and polishing of the floors, the surface around the fountain is often wet and slippery. Management of the hotel failed to use a sign warning client of the potentially slippery floor. While making a turn around the fountain, a client slipped and fell. Through collection and analysis of all available evidences, viewing of potentially available videotapes of the incidents, inspection of the incident’s scene/ premises, analysis of the incident using peer-reviewed and industry accepted scientific methods our team of experts are able to able to develop expert opinions pertaining to the potential for injury and liability. In this instance, one of the methods used by our experts is slip resistance measurement of the surface in both wet and dry conditions using tribometry. The majority of our experts are Certified XL Tribometrists (CXLT) and regularly investigate cases using slip resistance measurements ascertained using the English XL Variable Incidence Tribometer. In this instance, our experts would also examine the shoes worn at the time of accident, typical patterns of gaze and locomotion, corners and obstacles negotiation, expectation and visibility of potential hazards. Other cases might include the use of stairs for example. For safety purposes, stairs users require consistency and regularity. A feature as simple as a handrail that would be missing, poorly maintained, defective of altered could generate potential safety hazards. The simple change of the shape of the handrail could alter its graspability and fail to provide the support needed to a person attempting to regain balance and potentially result in a fall.

Leading Experts


Manon Limousis-Gayda, MS, CXLT