Slip & Fall Accidents
The True Cost of Slip & Fall Accidents in the Workplace
Slip and fall accidents can place a serious financial burden on a company. When a worker falls and suffers an injury while on the job, the company is responsible for paying his or her medical bills along with lost wages through Workers' Compensation. This alone can cost businesses a good chunk of cash, but this is really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the true cost of slip and fall accidents in the workplace.
A recent Workplace Safety Index published by Liberty Mutual found that same-level (not elevated) falls were the second most common type of injury in the workplace, costing businesses an estimated $6.6 billion.
The National Safety Council (NSC) also performed a study which suggests the annual costs of medical bills and Workers' Compensation associated with slip and fall accidents in the workplace is roughly $70 billion annually. According to OSHA reports, slips, trips, and falls make up the bulk of general industry accidents. Slips and falls are the root causes of 15 percent of all accidental deaths, second only behind automotive accidents as a contributing factor to fatalities. Slips also contribute to 20 percent of all workplace injuries, which cost companies billions of dollars in insurance claims, lost staff hours and liability lawsuits.
How do Slip and Fall Accidents Impact a Business?
- Lowers overall morale in the workplace.
- Leaves the company vulnerable to OSHA fines, lawsuits and other legal action.
- Raises the cost of Workers' Compensation.
- Requires company to invest unplanned money and resources into finding replacements for injured workers.
- Increases the probability of broken or damaged equipment or materials as a result of slip and fall accidents.
- Lowers productivity.
- Forces the company to perform renovations or make modifications in an effort to reduce future accidents.
Safety Standards & Policies
The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted in 1990 to guarantee equal opportunities for individuals with disabilities. The ADA made it illegal to discriminate on the basis of disability in employment, transportation, telecommunications, state and local government and public accommodations. In 2003 the ADA advisory on surface conditions issued "Bulletin 4" which recommended a static coefficient of friction (SCOF) value of 0.6 for level surfaces and .8 for ramps and inclined surfaces.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was founded in 1970 with the mission to "assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance." OSHA inspectors can issue citations to businesses and property owners for excessively slippery floors.