Slips & Falls

Businesses that have not taken control of slip-and-fall hazards may find themselves with a tarnished public image and facing a costly liability lawsuit. A majority of general liability claims reported by businesses—especially retail and food establishments—involve slips and falls, and many could have been prevented if the company had a strong loss-prevention program.

According to the Department of Labor, about one-quarter of workplace injuries are caused by slips, trips and falls—making it the largest cause of workplace injuries. In addition, falls are the leading cause of death for people age 65 and over.

Slip-and-fall accidents have many hidden costs, such as lost productivity, increased administrative activity and potential negative publicity within the community. While all of these costs have an adverse impact on a company’s bottom line, the biggest financial impact is when the victim pursues a liability lawsuit against the firm. Companies need to mitigate these risks to create a safer environment for their employees and the public.

Although businesses have little or no control over actions of individuals, they can institutionalize physical controls to reduce the chance of a fall. Some key considerations for a company’s slip-and-fall risk management program include:

  • Choice of flooring: Consider the flooring materials’ coefficient of friction or slip-resistant rating, one of the most important factors in preventing slip-and-fall accidents.
  • Flooring deficiencies: Identify and repair any deficiencies, such as areas that have settled or lifted up, cracks and missing pieces of flooring.
  • Shoe selection: Educate employees about the proper shoe selection to reduce potential hazards.
  • Staircases: Injuries on staircases are a major source of general liability claims. Some items to consider: keep staircases well lit and free of debris, look for irregular steps and loose or broken treads and position handrails properly.
  • Outdoor walkways and ramps: Keep these well maintained, well lit and free of debris, snow and ice. Repair all cracks.
  • Parking lots: Speed bumps and wheel stops should be well marked and located in areas that are not in the direct walkway of pedestrians.

Learn more about preventing slip-and-fall accidents.

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