Maintaining a safe environment is an essential element of pest control risk management. In addition to pesticide exposure, reckless driving and other serious breaches of company safety standards, an often-overlooked on-the-job injury among pest control technicians is inadvertent slip and falls. In fact, these are among the costliest and most common workplace accidents across all industries, accounting for 35% of incidents and 65% of lost workdays, according to the National Safety Council. The good news is that most slip and falls in the workplace (or on jobsites) are preventable.
SLIP AND FALL INJURIES ARE COSTLY
Investing in employee education on preventing slip and fall hazards and ingraining safety best practices into your workplace’s culture can lead to substantial long-term cost savings. Consider that the average cost of a typical slip and fall injury is $20,000, while the cost to defend a slip and fall claim is $50,000.1 Additionally, an employee misses an average of 38 work days2 with a slip-related injury, costing your organization in lost productivity while driving up your insurance costs.
PREVENTION BEST PRACTICES
Off-premise technician risks—Training your technicians to do a quick assessment of the worksite upon arrival can prevent many slip or trip hazards. Uneven ground, obstacles that are in the path of travel, slippery footing areas, inclines or level changes are all top hazards to be identified during the assessment upon arrival.
Workplace and work process design—Designing your space and processes to prevent potential exposure to hazards will keep your employees safe while reducing your potential liability and costs.
Good housekeeping—Maintaining work areas free of clutter and obstacles will greatly reduce hazards and exposure to accidents. Good housekeeping should start at the top and filter throughout the organization. Safeguarding cleanliness and organization in your company will ensure accountability and send a message to your employees that management is committed to a secure environment. Instilling this behavior within the culture of your business will allow it to become second nature to your employees.
Detailed incident reporting—If an accident does occur despite your best efforts, an immediate response is necessary. Document exactly what occurred, including who was involved and where, why and how it happened. Learning the details of an incident is useful for detecting trends and can be used to put measures into place to prevent recurrences. Additionally, taking a detailed account of the accident will reduce the likelihood of fraud, which can save you and your business additional dollars and headaches.
Slip and falls are a serious issue that can cause substantial financial damage to your pest control operation. Effective inspection, maintenance and housekeeping policies and procedures are critical elements of prevention. Embedding safety training and education efforts into your culture, setting a positive example and holding employees accountable can make a significant impact.
For an expert consultation or information on insurance and risk management solutions, please contact Weisburger Insurance Brokerage at 800-431-2794, [email protected], or visit our website at www.weisburger.com. Weisburger, a division of Program Brokerage Corporation, is the nationally endorsed insurance broker of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). With over 80 years of experience, our experts are able to review your current coverage and identify ways to best protect your pest control business during the dips and peaks of the industry.
1-2: Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, “Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls in the Workplace,” accessed at https://carleton.ca/ehs/wp-content/uploads/slippreventionWSIB2130A.pdf
BY GARY SHAPIRO, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, WEISBURGER INSURANCE BROKERAGE