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Slip, trip and fall injuries have the highest claims severity

September 14, 2015

Slip, trip and fall safety has become increasingly important to the healthcare industry.

Head of Healthcare and Financial Institutions

Chris Taylor is the Head of Healthcare and Financial Institutions in Commercial Insurance for Zurich... About this expert


Slip, trip and fall safety has become increasingly important to the healthcare industry. Zurich’s 2015 Benchmark Study of Hospital Workers’ Compensation Claims shows that slip, trip and fall (STF) claims differ from all other claims accident types. The greatest concern regarding STF claims is the cost; not only in the claims themselves, but in the time it takes to get employees back to work.

The average cost per claim for slips, trips and falls is typically 50 percent more expensive than all other accident types. Over a five year period, STF claims cost an average of $7,971, compared to an average of $5,105 for all claims. The study also found that the cost goes up even more with tenured workers.

Today, we are living longer and often working longer. The aging workforce can also have a significant impact on STF claims. The average age of an employee injured during a STF accident is five years older than the average age of all other accident types.

Slip, trip and fall accidents also generate 10 percent more lost time claims than other accident types, leading to higher costs. This means it takes longer and costs more for staff to get back to work, which can also lead to a shortage of doctors and nurses. A shortage of doctors and nurses could account for more overtime; staff injury and overtime are an unhealthy parallel, per the International Journal of Nursing Studies.  It’s important to educate employees on how to keep themselves safe.

In order to mitigate risk in hospitals, focus on high-traffic areas, keeping them well lit and clutter-free. Make sure the staff knows the proper cleanup procedures for spills and contaminations. Interesting enough, 39 percent of these STF claims occur on a flat level surface. Is it possible that many of these accidents could be avoided?

Many healthcare organizations wonder what they can do to avoid these costly workers’ compensation claims. Focusing on slips, trips and falls is an excellent place to start. By finding ways to decrease the risks, you can start to make changes that will benefit the business and the employees.

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The information in this publication was compiled from sources believed to be reliable for informational purposes only. All sample policies and procedures herein should serve as a guideline, which you can use to create your own policies and procedures. We trust that you will customize these samples to reflect your own operations and believe that these samples may serve as a helpful platform for this endeavor. Any and all information contained herein is not intended to constitute advice (particularly not legal advice). Accordingly, persons requiring advice should consult independent advisors when developing programs and policies. We do not guarantee the accuracy of this information or any results and further assume no liability in connection with this publication and sample policies and procedures, including any information, methods or safety suggestions contained herein. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any of this information, whether to reflect new information, future developments, events or circumstances or otherwise. Moreover, Zurich reminds you that this cannot be assumed to contain every acceptable safety and compliance procedure or that additional procedures might not be appropriate under the circumstances. The subject matter of this publication is not tied to any specific insurance product nor will adopting these policies and procedures ensure coverage under any insurance policy.

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