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, sectors such as the 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 20% of business’s do not attend to this area. In addition, the facts below demonstrate that the need to proactively address STF risks within any operation today are a priority in terms of managing both tangible and intangible costs to a 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
The figures make it clear that 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 specific sectors with high footfall (e.g. Retail, Hospitality, Healthcare). In some circumstances STF 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.
If the moral argument is not enough, the argument that employers may end up in court due to gross negligence surely is. As recently reported the Health and Safety Review (March 2018), the HSA will be carrying out STF inspections and will expect STF assessments to be in place, including hazards such as slippery surfaces, stairs and steps. Employers consider yourselves warned!
So what can employers do to reduce their exposure in this key area or slip, trip and fall (STF) assessment and management? The first step is to conduct an in-depth STF risk assessment of your specific business. The second step is to ensure that you effectively communicate these risk assessments to your staff so that they are made aware of the STF hazards in their local area of operation. The third step is to put in place a proactive housekeeping system that manages the STF risk on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Finally, ensure that staff get refreshed on a routine basis so that key knowledge transfer is established and caters for the churn within your business.
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 businesses take both responsibility and control of this problem and save money, time and reputation as a result.
The innovative SeaChange CAYGO™ Slip, Trip & Fall Management Partnership focuses on improving housekeeping standards and reducing the increasing problem that Slip, Trip & Fall (STF) causes business organisations, both in terms of risk and associated liability claims. Public and Employee Slip, Trip & Fall incidents are consistently the most frequent occurrences in the commercial business and insurance sector (e.g Retail, Hotels, SMEs and their insurance partners).
The resulting claims have added to a growing claims culture and increased premiums year on year. But our CAYGO™ system can separate you 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.
SeaChange experts first provides an in-depth and site-specific STF risk assessment of your business. We then train and upskill key staff on site to run the easy to use CAYGO™ system that ensures all areas of your business are proactively checked and managed routinely for STF hazards and corrective actions. SeaChange® connects your site to our Online Portal and we monitor all automated reports and uploads on a monthly basis through our innovative CAYGO™ on-site app and digital portal. SeaChange® experts also audit each client site annually to benchmark performance.
The partnership facilitates the growth of a strong health and safety culture leading to reduced accidents and claims, which is the ultimate goal for all concerned. SeaChange has also developed alliance with proactive insurance companies and brokers who recognise that risk must be managed 24/7 in order to leverage competitive premium rates. The CAYGO™ Partnership includes:
- 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