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!