The Market Challenge
A HSA analysis of over 10,000 workplace inspections between 2010 and 2016 shows that over 20% of workplaces had no slip, trip and fall (STF) risk assessments in place. Even worse, the Forecourt Retail sector show that over 30% of business owners operating in this sector did not provide STF risk assessments.
Given that STF risks are often the most prevailing, frequent and damaging potential risks to a business, it is alarming that over 30% of forecourt retailers do not assess this risk and attend to this area. In addition, the facts below demonstrate that the Forecourt Retail Sector needs to proactively address the STF risk as a priority in terms of managing both tangible and intangible costs to their business:
- Ireland is one of the most litigious countries in the EU, with frequency of claims & cost of claims rising year-on-year, many of which are linked with STF risks
- Large variation in court judgements result in new precedents and an ever-increasing ‘payment ceiling’ effect
- Because of an existing loophole that is not being addressed, claimants can avoid the Injuries Board and claim through private solicitors, thereby dramatically increasing costs for insurers and directly impacting insurance premiums
- Preventive safety measures are not sufficiently implemented within business operations to support the defence of certain claims, especially in the STF risk domain
- On average, there is a general lack of ownership and accountability from the employer, customer and employee for their own personal safety and risk awareness around STF risks and hazards
See the table below that outlines key liability (public and employee) risks within the Retail Sector:
The figures make it clear that forecourt retail employers have a responsibility to examine their risk management practices when it comes to slip, trip and fall hazards. The high frequency of STF accidents in the work place leads to the highest number of both public and employee claims in Forecourt Retail Sector. On average the STF risk causes up to 60% of liability claims and a large proportion of that massive figure is due to poor housekeeping and a distinct lack of proactive STF risk management practices in the Forecourt Retail Sector.
Let’s face it, the playing field is a challenging one, and with our grey legal system and our high claims culture there is always going to be unavoidable slip, trip and fall incidents that may occur in your business… people have after all been falling over since humanity learned how to walk. However, there is a large percentage (up to 50% of all STF incidents) that are perfectly unavoidable. An analysis of the causal factors leading to STF accidents show that it is often employee behaviour (e.g. poor housekeeping) that leads to the hazards and consequential incidents. Numerous examples have been cited in court, where STF hazards were often left on the ground for hours with multiple staff members walking right by them before a member of the public then had accidents. This is a behavioural issue, and the fact that 80-95% of all accidents are behaviour-based provides further proof that they are preventable. But employers need to know ‘HOW’ to prevent them.
So what are the usual suspects? Well the HSA has identified a cross-sectoral overview of 8 causal factors leading to STF incidents and below are some of the primary hazards in order of frequency:
- Descending Stairs
- Slippery and Wet Surfaces
- Exiting Vehicles
- Uneven Surfaces
- Cleaning Procedures
- Entrances and Exits
STF Hazards leading to injuries are responsible for some of the highest claims in Ireland, with compensation often reaching the six-figure mark. These incidents and consequential claims negatively affect insurance premium costs not to mention increases in excess and operational cost in terms of time, resources and loss of productivity throughout the process. It is time forecourt businesses take both responsibility and control of this problem and save money, time and reputation as a result.
Junction 14 Leading the Way with the CAYGO® Digital STF Management Solution
Junction 14 is a part of the Lidon Group which is a group of sister associated companies owned and run by members of the Fitzpatrick family who have been in business since 1954. The site began when two local businessmen and brothers Liam and Donal Fitzpatrick identified Junction 14 as the perfect destination to give M7 motorists a break on the journey between Dublin, Cork and the South West. They spent several years researching the European Motorway Forecourt Industry with a view to bringing the latest trends and technologies to the Irish market, to help improve the existing motorway service station offerings. Junction 14 is one of the most innovative and proactive Forecourt Retail sites in the country, and their General Manager Gavin Moran personifies their appetite for best practice.
“At Junction 14 we always strive to be the best at what we do. We embrace innovation and technology when it fits with our brand to offer commuters convenience with consistently high-quality fresh food and facilities, friendly and helpful staff and an excellent customer experience”. Gavin Moran, General Manager, J14 Mayfield.
Part of this best in class customer experience is ensuring that J14 is a safe place to shop. Housekeeping standards are very important to Gavin and his team and given the extremely high footfall they experience every day their staff must be on the ball when it comes to ensuring the site is hazard free. An on-going challenge for any high footfall business is to ensure good housekeeping habits are formed and t is important that all staff are connected to STF hazard identification and removal.
Most high footfall businesses (and their insurance partners) are unfortunately not adequately aware of and adept at risk management, especially when it comes to addressing the area of slip, trip and fall. SeaChange, an Irish-based company, resolves these issues through their behavior-based risk management systems. “We know that 80-95% of accidents are behavior-based and to manage risk effectively it is critical to impact behavior,” says Dr. Paul Cummins, Managing Director. The primary risk factor responsible for the highest liability claims frequency and cost is Slip, Trip, and Fall (STF). The high rate of STF accidents in the workplace leads to the most frequent number of both public and employee claims in high footfall sectors such as the Forecourt Sector. In some circumstances, STF causes up to 65% of liability claims and a large proportion of that massive figure is due to poor housekeeping and a distinct lack of proactive STF risk management practices. SeaChange has responded by developing an innovative and dynamic ‘behavior-based’ solutions called CAYGO®- a Slip, Trip, & Fall Management Digital Product to effectively manage liability risk factors in high footfall sectors.
The CAYGO® Slip, Trip & Fall Management Digital Product proactively and exponentially improves housekeeping behavior standards in high-footfall sectors and instantly reduces the likelihood of STF accidents to decrease the client’s risk ratio. Staff are trained to run the digital product that automatically checks and manages the business areas routinely for STF hazard identification and corrective action. This digital product connects the business to SeaChange’s Online Portal where SeaChange experts remotely monitor all automated reports and leaderboards on a monthly basis to provide oversight and ensure better compliance rating.
Junction 14 embraced the CAYGO® Slip, Trip & Fall Management Digital Product in Q2 this year and continue to effectively implement it on a daily basis. From their perspective, the system is easy to use, staff friendly, automated and provides real-time data not only to track and trend housekeeping standards and STF hazards addressed, but also to provide proof that their site is being proactive when it comes to STF management.
“We have a fantastic relationship with SeaChange who provide all of our Health and Safety services, and when they introduced us to their CAYGO® Digital Product, we jumped at the opportunity to implement this system as we knew it would support our staff in identifying and addressing STF hazards and improving housekeeping standards across the board”. Gavin Moran, General Manager, J14 Mayfield.
The CAYGO® Digital STF Management Solution
The CAYGO® Product and Partnership is innovative, user-friendly and provides numerous features and benefits including:
- A Site-Specific Slip, Trip & Fall Risk Assessment
- A Bespoke & Digital Housekeeping System to Improve STF Prevention Standards 24/7
- Management Training & Certification on the CAYGO® Digital Solution
- Reductions in Slip, Trip & Fall Incidents
- Reductions in Costly Slip, Trip & Fall Claims
- Defence against Fraudulent Claims
- Positively Impact Insurance Costs
“Public and Employee Slip, Trip & Fall incidents are consistently the most frequent occurrences in the high footfall commercial business and insurance sectors. The resulting claims have added to a growing claims culture and increased premiums year on year but our CAYGO® system can separate your business from the heard by improving your housekeeping standards on a continuous basis and providing an interactive and proactive system that manages the risk of Slip, Trip & Fall in your business”. Dr. Paul Cummins, Managing Director, SeaChange Ltd.
In conclusion, J14 have moved from a very good starting point, to an even more sustainable place by investing in safety culture systems that target the main risk factor in high footfall sectors through SeaChange. J14 are always focused on continuous improvement from an operations perspective and adopt innovative solutions that lead to real change. Slip, trip and fall management is a moving feast, and the evolution is never-ending but J14 are leading the way in the petrol forecourt retail space and are reaping the rewards as a result in terms of increased staff awareness, increased housekeeping standards, reduced accidents and managed insurance premium rates.