California’s wine industry is a big deal for the region. There are about 3,063 winery businesses in the state. About 1,700 are based in the famous Wine Country region, known for its award-winning producers. These wineries are so popular that it’s not unusual for some to hold tours of their premises for wine aficionados. Who wouldn’t want a chance to learn the secret behind their favorite wine along with the many drinks you can have on such tours?
However, it can be easy to forget that even if a winery is open to tours, it is still a workplace with its hazards. Accidents can happen, and guests could get injured.
Common factors of slip and trip injuries in winery tours
Here are some common accident factors in winery tours:
- Slippery surfaces: Unsurprisingly, slippery surfaces are a significant cause of accidents in wineries. It’s not unusual to see puddles of spilled wine on the floor of a winery, and it can be a slip hazard for anyone if left unclean. And depending on the season and weather, other risks such as ice-slick floors and muddy ground could also lead to slips.
- Trip hazards: Wineries will have hoses, pipes and similar equipment to transfer wine from one point to another. These can be tripping hazards for unsuspecting guests unfamiliar with the facility.
- One too many drinks: Guests inebriated from drinking too much are more prone to falling and tripping. While it’s the guest’s responsibility to watch how much they drink, the winery is also responsible for ensuring that it doesn’t over-serve tourists to the point of intoxication.
- Lack of safety signage: Wineries should have signs to warn both employees and guests of certain premise risks. But they’ll also need signs to keep guests from employee-only areas.
Other indirect factors in a winery tour accident include confined spaces, too many guests, and inadequate supervision.
Wineries have limited premises risks if they’re not open to tours. But allowing tourists inside their facilities opens them up to occupiers’ liability. This means that as property owners, they’re liable for any injury their guests may sustain.
In addition to occupiers’ liability, wineries have similar liquor liability to bars and clubs. They’re accountable if a guest gets too drunk and, as a result, gets into an accident.
Guests injured during a winery tour should understand that they can hold the operator accountable, especially if the operator fails to take preventative measures. They might want to discuss their situation with an attorney to understand the compensation they can claim through a lawsuit.