Workers take more time off (median: 8 days) because of slip-and-fall injuries than any other reason. More alarming still, nearly 30 percent of same-level falls lead to a minimum of 21 lost workdays. Worst of all, slips and falls are the leading causes of workplace fatalities, and comprise 20 percent of all disabling injuries.
Slip-and-fall injuries are also the second-leading cause (after over-exertion) of loss from death, personal injury and suffering, workers’ compensation, lost productivity, and civil liability in both workplace and public environments, according to the 2013 Workplace Safety Index report by Liberty Mutual. Ouch.
Such accidents amount to roughly $70 billion annually in workers’ compensation and medical costs, as estimated by the National Safety Council (NSC). Put into further perspective, these injuries accounted for 15.4 percent of all workplace accidents, with direct costs of $8.6 billion in 2011. Costs grew 25.6 percent from 2005 to 2013, and the challenge continues to increase.
The slip-and-fall issue affects many industries. So it wasn’t surprising when HMS Host—the world’s largest provider of food, beverage and retail services for airports and travelers—contacted Spellbound in search of a way to reduce slip-and-fall hazards at its airports.
Develop a first-response, real-time hazard warning solution to minimize potential slip and fall hazards.
Spellbound conducted extensive research into the causes of slip-and-fall accidents that revealed an important insight: despite most workers awareness of the risks, they often had to leave the scene of a hazard unattended to retrieve safety signage and cleanup supplies. Consequently, the public’s exposure to the hazard increased along with the likelihood of a slip or fall accident.
Since existing solutions were lacking, Spellbound focused on improving the response by reducing the time it took to post a public warning after the first sighting of a slip-and-fall hazard. Specifically, we asked our team, “What would be a simple, effective solution for the end-user to implement?”
Team brainstorming and client feedback provided the conceptual depth and range needed to arrive at the most promising idea. Soon we had a product design that met all client and market criteria. Prototypes were made and tested. Once minor design enhancements were completed and approved, we began manufacturing the hazard warning we affectionately call the “big MINI®.”
There’s no longer any reason to leave a spill hazard unmarked while retrieving cleaning supplies. Workers equipped with the big MINI hazard warning sign can now instantly place caution signage around the area. The signs are designed to be worn and include a small, personal carrying case that can be easily attached to a belt or pocket.
Given that a typical slip-and-fall incident can cost $28,000 on average, the elimination of just one potential loss is enough to easily cover the investment of big MINI hazard signs for thousands of publicly served locations.