Slip and Fall Case Study
Pilot Program to Reduce Slip and Fall Accident Claims
The ambulance pulled away from the fast food restaurant with the EMT’s attending to the crew member. She had slipped on tile floor and was badly hurt. It was the second week in November and the accident was employee slip and fall number 17 for the year. This incident now surpasses the prior year’s number of slip and fall claims in the same restaurant. The medical costs and lost time for the year is over $250,000 and about to get worse – by a lot! The supervisor for the restaurant declared that “something had to be done” to stop the soaring number and costs of slip and fall accidents in the restaurant. Other locations in this restaurant chain were experiencing similar problems.
The project started with reviewing individual employee slip and fall incidents for several years and analyzing them for the root cause. One common cause was immediately identified that could be prevented if investments were made in the proper equipment and procedures. A solid business case was warranted that would be supported by a test pilot project. Reducing the number and severity of claims was certainly the goal of the project, but accomplishing that with a substantial return on the company’s investment was a high priority. Help and support were enlisted from two suppliers.
A safety pilot program was proposed utilizing products and services that the vendors would provide free or at greatly reduced rates in three restaurants, each with a high number of incidents. Both suppliers were eager to show the effectiveness of their product in reducing slip and fall accidents. If the pilot program was successful in reducing employee accidents and the investment of an expanded or full implementation of the program was acceptable to the company, a win-win for all involved could be established. The company and suppliers were all in agreement to move forward.
Pilot Program Components:
- The pilot program was initiated to test the effects of products designed to prevent slip and falls.
- A time frame of 3 months was established, later expanded to 6 months.
- Financial and operational support was obtained from Operations and HR.
- 6 restaurants with the highest number and severity of slip and fall incidents were chosen to participate in the safety pilot program.
- 3 restaurants were selected to use the product and services of supplier #1.
- 3 restaurants were selected to use the different product and services of supplier #2.
- Training was conducted on the motivators, expectations, and rules for the pilot program.
- All managers and employees were instructed that the use of the products and services to be tested were mandatory during the trial period – no exceptions.
- Claims reporting disciplines were firmly established. Every accident incident reported within 24 hours - no exceptions.
After the initial test period of 3 months, not only were there no slip and fall accidents reported, there were no employee claims of any kind; no cuts, burns, strains, sprains or bruises. It was so successful, that the pilot was continued for an additional 3 months with eager cooperation from the suppliers. Only one worker’s comp claim was reported during the extended 3 months, which was not related to this study.
During the pilot the employees were enthusiastic to participate. They were appreciative that their health and safety was a top priority. According to managers, their employees’ attention to detail improved dramatically. Morale was high and they worked better as a team. Because the employees were constantly reminded to be careful by using the product and services, their awareness of safety was heightened. They reported unsafe conditions, cleaned up spills immediately and created a safer working environment. This was an unanticipated bonus of the pilot program.
The test program was then expanded to an entire region of 75 restaurants with extended support from additional Operations and HR personnel, excited to reap the same benefits. They did, and the company committed to the program for all restaurants.
Slip and fall accidents declined year after year as the products and services of the original pilot program became more ingrained into the culture of the restaurants. With less claims, and lower insurance premiums the company saved $2.3 million in three years. The savings continue to grow as worker’s compensation claims continue to decline.