Slips, trips and falls are the second most common cause of nonfatal driver injuries according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). And while drivers typically recover from their injury, the combination of medical bills and workers’ comp can be very costly for fleets (see stat #3 below).
Investing in slip, trip and fall prevention is a simple, inexpensive way to protect your profit margins. Not convinced? Review these five slip, trip and fall statistics before you decide:
- Slip and fall incidents are the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims
- 22% of slip/fall incidents result in more than a month away from work
- The average cost of a slip, trip or fall injury is $36,000-$47,000 per incident
- 60% of elevated falls occur from less than 10 feet (i.e. a lift gate or loading dock)
- Fractures of the spine, hip, forearm, leg, ankle, pelvis, upper arm and hand are the most common slip and fall injuries
Slip and Fall Injury Prevention Protects Drivers and Your Bottom Line
The costs associated with a slip, trip or fall can quickly add up, and we’re not just talking medical expenses.
- Workers’ comp claims are common (see stat #1 above)
- You can’t have an idle vehicle, so you have to hire a replacement driver or pay an existing driver overtime
- Incidents can frequently (d)evolve into lawsuits. Doctors and lawyers together are an expensive combination.
Though OSHA doesn’t require formal training on how to avoid slips, trips and falls, employers are required to, “explain to your employees what is expected of them to prevent accidents,” and “train employees to recognize and avoid unsafe conditions.” To put a finer point on it: if your fleet doesn’t have a documented slip, trip and fall prevention program, you’re basically handing insurance companies and lawyers a blank check.
What’s the Real Root Cause of Slip and Fall Injuries?
As any experienced supervisor or fleet manager knows: rushing and distraction are the root cause of most incidents. Drivers multitask (looking at their phone instead of the walkway), or hurry across a slippery surface.
- According to the BLS, 61% of driver slip, trip or fall injuries occur on a floor, walkway or same-level ground surface.
- NFSI, a safety nonprofit, reports 85% of workers’ compensation claims result from a slip on slick floors, and EHS Today reports, floor safety issues cause more than half of slip, trip or fall injuries.
The best way to prevent incidents is by reinforcing safe habits. Documented driver safety training forms the foundation, but a wise safety manager will reinforce training with:
- Safety messages: delivered via email, text and verbally during driver briefings
- Visual reminders: such as decals on the door showing how to use three points of contact and safety posters in the break room
Reinforcing good injury prevention habits is the best way to prevent expensive incidents and injuries this winter. That’s why we created a free winter injury prevention poster: 5 S.T.E.P.S. to Prevent Common Driver Injuries. Print it out and hang it in your breakroom, or download the image and share it with your drivers and other team members as a seasonal safety reminder.
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5 S.T.E.P.S. to Prevent Driver Injuries This Winter