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Reducing Retail Safety Claims and Injuries Is Easier Than You Think

Posted by Harold Gubnitsky on February 7, 2017
Harold Gubnitsky
Slips and falls, musculoskeletal disorders and other commonplace injuries can plague both sides of the aisle—and cost companies a pretty penny.

As you may know, the retail industry is vulnerable to employee and consumer injuries.

Slips and falls, musculoskeletal disorders and other commonplace injuries can plague both sides of the aisle—and cost companies a pretty penny. It's time to stop shelling out for avoidable accidents and take action to reduce the cost of safety claims moving forward.

State of the Industry

The retail industry is plagued by many conventional workplace injuries, and costs businesses a fortune every year. A 2016 report by Milliman found the cost of risk for retailers—a figure that includes employee and customer incidents, litigation and claims expenses—totaled $23 billion. This amounted to about $6 for every $1,000 worth of sales.

Common injuries that workers in the retail sector suffer include:

  • Slips and falls.
  • Sprains.
  • Back strains and other overexertion pains.
  • Cuts.
  • Falls from above.

Preventing these accidents isn't just a goodwill bid to improve morale among your workforce—they affect your company's bottom line. Milliman reported the average retail store generates between 2 and 6.5 percent profit off of sales, depending on the market. These are slim to say the least, and workers' compensation and consumer injury liability can eat directly into a company's ability to grow.

Stopping Injuries In Their Tracks

The best way to start reducing workplace accidents is to get your hands on competitors' incident reports and compare them with your own. Some health and safety management platforms offer the ability to pull publicly available industry data and analyze it in relation to yours. This requires digital reporting to be implemented as a standard practice across the company.

"Placing a focus on safety can reduce claims costs by 40%."

After identifying which areas of operations both cost the most and have the highest chance to cause an injury, it's time to put your plan into action. A data-driven, preventative safety strategy can have a meaningful impact on the safety of your workers—and your customers. By tracking trending safety data to identify risk areas, reinforcing safe behaviors through training based on what the data shows, you can prevent incidents and reduce claims costs. This could be as small as putting a wet floor sign out in the showroom, but it's an action that has an impact.

Companies have had great success getting employees onboard with an improved safety culture. CFO.com recently interviewed Bill Zachry, vice president of risk management at Safeway Inc., a food and drug retailer. He claimed that his company had cut its safety claims cost by 40 percent below the industry average, making it a distinct competitive advantage.

Investing in the short-term through products like health and safety management software, as well as automated machinery or modern equipment for any actions that could spawn a musculoskeletal injury, will ultimately benefit the company in the long run.

Employers will gain back hours of lost productivity, see lower claims costs and avoid going to court for workers' compensation or consumer incidents. This only happens, though, if your retail store is committed to reducing incidents through a data-driven, preventative safety strategy.

Topics: EHS Software, EHS Management System, Business Insights, Retail, health and safety management software, health and safety management

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