The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) states that slips, trips and falls account for 15% of all accidental deaths. This statistic falls second only to deaths from motor vehicle accidents. Injuries from slips and falls are one of the top reported injuries to insurance companies, which encompass about a quarter of reported claims each year.
This is truly unfortunate, since most of these injuries could have been prevented.
Accidents from slips, trips, and falls in the workplace can mean substantial costs, not only for the employer but also the worker. The Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index states that the total financial burden of workplace injuries and illnesses was almost $60 billion in 2014. One fifth of these costs, approximately $11 billion, can be attributed to slips and falls. Unless employers understand the extent of these costs, they are unlikely to take proper preventative steps to minimize their potential risk and liabilities.
Below is a simple but thorough breakdown of the ways that slips and falls in your workplace can drastically increase annual costs.
One of the most frightening costs to an employer is a personal lawsuit. Employers can be sued by customers or employees if a slip and fall accident occurs on your property. BIC Magazine has reported that the average cost for this kind of injury itself is $20,000, while the cost to defend a slip and fall claim is about $50,000. If the courts decide in the injured person’s favor, you may be told that you must compensate the injured person for past and future medical bills, lost wages, mental anguish and physical pain. It doesn’t take a mathematician to realize that these costs can add up very quickly (possibly to hundreds of thousands—or even millions—of dollars) – not to mention what a nightmare this could be both to you, personally, and your business.
Beyond a Lawsuit
If the individual injured is one of your employees, the considerations extend even further. For example, you may not only be responsible for compensating your employee’s lost wages, but you may also suffer from a decrease in productivity. In some cases, there may be costs associated with hiring and training a replacement employee. You may also be looking at increased insurance premiums.
Preventing Slips, Falls, Lawsuits, and Costs
Fortunately, there are a number of ways to take action against the possibility of slip and fall injuries within your institution.
- Maintain proper signage warning around wet areas
- Promptly repair leaks which may form wet spots on the floor
- Encourage your employees to wear appropriate footwear
- Promoting employee training and awareness of fall prevention
- Utilizing solutions such as anti-slip products to increase traction
Remember, these injuries and costs are entirely preventable with planning and care! Don’t fall victim to apathy, carelessness, and the costs that result.