Claims Prevention 101 | Slips, trips and falls
It can happen in a split second. One moment you’re heading upstairs and turning to say something to a team member and the next thing you know, you’re flat on the ground. And it’s not just you it can happen to. After a snowy and treacherous commute, as your employee steps through the front doors, they suddenly take a face plant after tripping on the doormat.
These are the types of situations that can and do have lasting impacts. On individuals, on teams, on businesses and on bottom lines. And that’s why preventing slip, trip and fall claims is on every business owner’s mind. In fact, the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) the most recent Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada statistics find:
“In Canada over 42,000 workers get injured annually due to fall incidents. This number represents about 18% of the “time-loss injuries” that were accepted by workers’ compensation boards or commissions across Canada”1
So to help connect you with some risk management guidance for preventing these dangerous workplace scenarios, we’ve prepared this brief post. After that, we’ve also outlined the specific type of insurance coverage that’s essential for any business owner with employees in Ontario. Keep reading to learn more…
Understanding what’s underfoot: slipping and tripping situations
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you studied Latin in high school or Classics in university you might have learned this idiom wasn’t coined by Benjamin Franklin. In other words, The Free Dictionary notes that, “this ancient proverb is first recorded in Latin in Henry de Bracton’s De Legibus (c. 1240) and has been repeated ever since, often in shortened form.”2
Above all, this idiom speaks to the foundation of modern risk management. Prevention is key. To clarify, it’s important to know how falls happen in the first place. Here’s what CCOHS has to say about circumstances that lead to falls.
“Statistics show that the majority (67%) of falls happen on the same level resulting from slips and trips. The remaining 30% are falls from a height. [Such as] falls from an elevation, such as falls from ladders, roofs, down stairs or from jumping to a lower level, etc.”3
When it comes to slippery situations, CCOHS explains how these events can happen.
For instance: “Slips happen where there is too little friction or traction between the footwear and the walking surface. Common causes of slips are:
- wet or oily surfaces
- occasional spills
- weather hazards
- loose, unanchored rugs or mats
- flooring or other walking surfaces that do not have same degree of traction in all areas”4
And when tripping hazards are afoot, CCOHS research documents how common everyday situations can lead to accidents. For example: “Trips happen when your foot collides (strikes, hits) an object causing you to lose the balance and, eventually fall. Common causes of tripping are:
- obstructed view
- poor lighting
- clutter in your way
- wrinkled carpeting
- uncovered cables
- bottom drawers not being closed
- uneven (steps, thresholds) walking surfaces”5
Therefore, with common slip and trip situations well-documented, knowing how, when and where to implement claims prevention risk management best practices is important. Our team of commercial insurance brokers across Ontario know how to connect businesses with custom-fit coverage that addresses common and uncommon risk exposures.
Most importantly, we know how that aligning coverage is just one element of what we do to help businesses manage their risks. In the next section, you’ll find some practical insights about risk managing slip, trip and fall situations in your workplace.
Risk Management Best Practices
In the same vein as ancient proverb, to reduce the risk of injuries, comprehensive fall-protection programs are essential. However, at a minimum, there are some universal risk management actions that employers can take.
For example, Ontario employers should:
- Become familiar with applicable legislation, codes and standards
- Incorporate safety in work planning
- Identify all slip, trip and fall hazards at the worksite
- Put a fall-prevention program in place, including a company policy that outlines rules for housekeeping, lighting, inspections, etc.
- Train employees in recognizing and avoiding unsafe conditions – for instance, how to clean up spills, use fall-protection equipment, install guardrails and use covers on holes in the floor, etc.
- Provide written procedures for tasks involving fall hazards
- Ensure that employees know, understand and follow procedures
- Be clear and vigilant in their health and safety responsibilities and those of their supervisors – they must ensure that rules are followed
- Provide appropriate protective equipment for employees and train them in its use
- Continuously evaluate the fall-prevention program, ensuring that policies and procedures are working. If not, improve them
- If a fall-related incident takes place, investigate it immediately, learn from it, and eliminate the cause, and
- Document all fall-prevention efforts
To sum up, there are many things that employers can do to prevent fall-related claims situations. Most certainly, being aware of slip, trip and fall risk hazards and taking steps to control these is essential. Meanwhile, there are also additional insurance coverage solutions that all Ontario businesses should be aware of.
Here’s what to know about Ontario insurance coverages that protect against a slip, trip and fall situation…
In Ontario, the Workplace Safety Insurance Board is mandatory for most industries. The majority are required to carry WSIB coverage and pay into the program as a way of protecting employees from workplace injuries and illnesses.
However, according to the WSIB website, their no-fault compensation covers more than 5 million Ontarians. That leaves a wide gap of workers not covered by WSIB. And a large number of employers who are susceptible to litigation based on workplace-related injuries and illnesses.
However, even if you pay for workers’ compensation in Ontario, you are still not completely protected from litigation based on workplace injuries and illnesses.
Want to have more coverage? We can help. For example, you can have Ontario Employer Liability Insurance or Contingent Employers Liability coverage added to your existing Commercial General Liability policy. So in the unfortunate event of workplace injuries, illnesses and deaths, these additional coverages can provide you with much-needed protection and peace of mind.
In short. Accidents waiting to happen can be prevented.
To sum up, Ontario workers aren’t falling because they are clumsy, careless or accident-prone. Likewise, workers are falling because of poor workplace conditions. Most importantly, close examination of floors, walkways, catwalks, stairs, scaffolds, ladders, truck beds, rail-car floors, outdoor yards and all other working or walking surfaces will likely reveal hidden slip, trip or fall hazards.
In addition, we can connect you with Ontario Employer Liability Insurance or Contingent Employers Liability coverage options above and beyond your current Commercial General Liability policy.
In conclusion, if you are working to prevent slip, trip and fall situations in your Ontario workplace, ALIGNED insurance brokers can help you get fully covered against worst-case scenarios.