How School Administrators Reduce Workers’ Comp Costs
How much would you save if you could reduce slips and falls by up to 80%? Depending on the size of your school, it could be anywhere from tens of thousands to millions of dollars.
Take, for instance: UCLA and UC-Irvine.
After experiencing a combined 700 slip and fall-related injuries yearly, resulting in direct workers' compensation costs of $7 million per year, they knew something needed to change.
By reducing their slip and falls, forecasts say they will save between $1.5 and $2 million in direct costs annually.
Here's how that can happen for your school, too.
Slip and Fall Injuries Are Expensive and Common
Next to traffic accidents, falls injure more people than any other type of accident. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 1,176,340 non-fatal work injuries resulted in days away from work — and that 18% of them were related to slips, trips, and falls.
For schools specifically, "slips and falls" are the second most common accident after "being injured by a student or co-worker." According to one law firm, more than half (55%) of all major school accidents are due to slips, falls, and trips.
Moreover, slip and falls are the third most expensive injury cause after motor vehicle accidents and cumulative injuries.
How to Reduce Slip and Fall Injuries
Your school could reduce slip and fall injuries by implementing the following to your daily routine:
1. Teachers — Read and follow the instructions of any Caution Sign when one is placed in the school. Wear slip-resistant shoes if possible to passively safeguard yourself from slips, especially when severe weather impacts your area.
2. Food Service Personnel — Always wearing slip-resistant footwear in the kitchen area is a MUST. Keep floors clean and dry, addressing any spills as soon as they happen (with proper usage of both clean-up and caution signs until the floor is dry). Use floor mats when necessary.
3. Custodians — Always use caution signs when cleaning floors. Make regular repairs to slip & fall hazards like handrails, damaged stairs, and cracked walking surfaces. Wear appropriate footwear.
4. Maintenance — Regularly review and request repairs on damaged or cracked walking surfaces outside the school regularly (i.e., sidewalk, parking lots, etc.). Follow the guidelines provided by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for fall protection. Always wear non-slip shoes to avoid slipping and falling, especially during inclement weather that would make walking surfaces unsafe.
How to Boost Safety Program Adoption
While encouraging employees to wear slip-resistant shoes helps, participation is low when there is no cost-sharing on the purchase of said footwear.
On average, just encouraging employees to buy shoes by themselves on their own with cash or a credit card has a participation rate below 20%...and 20% participation by your entire workforce only reduces slips and falls by an average of 16%.
So, what's the solution? Implement a corporate safety footwear program that saves far more money than it costs.
Shoes For Crews® partners with educational institutions to develop a custom safety plan focused on reducing slips and falls. That way, you can take care of your employees without sacrificing profitability.
As the adage somewhat goes,
"If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your [students], and your business will take care of itself" (J.W. 'Bill' Marriott).
Safety Footwear Programs Can Have a Positive ROI
As long as you're participating in a corporate safety footwear program that is right for your institution and staff, you can still get a positive return on your investment. Although safety is priceless in value--and essential to the health and well-being of your workers--it's still important that your school implements a program that works for its participants.
Safety footwear programs come in four types.
Here are your options.
1. Voluntary Payroll Deduction
When your institution implements a voluntary payroll deduction program, employees pay for their own shoes through installments deducted by payroll. The average participation rate for this option is better than the previous but still only ranges between 20%-40% of employees. These results lead to a slip and fall cost reduction of 16%-30%.
2. Subsidized Program
In a subsidized footwear program, the educational institution partially pays for the shoes while employees cover the rest. The average participation rate for this option jumps to a more favorable range of 55% to 70%. In turn, your institution will be able to reduce the cost of slips and falls by at least 40%-55%.
3. Company-Paid Program
In the third and final option, the paid footwear program, the educational institution pays the entire cost of footwear up to a set level. If the shoe purchase exceeds this level, employees pay the difference. The participation rate for this option is at an incredible 90%-100%, which reduces slip and fall costs from 72%-80%.
The choice between types of footwear programs depends on your current workers' comp plan as well as your history of slips and falls. As long as the reduction in workers' comp costs is higher than the cost of the footwear program, you will see a positive return on investment.
Who should be covered by a safety footwear program?
To maximize the ROI of footwear programs, you must carefully select who is included. Start by looking at which departments experience the most slips. For example, UC Irvine found that providing slip-resistant shoes to the food service department cost them $16,000 while saving over $400,000 in direct workers' compensation costs.
If UC Irvine's footwear program covered UC Irvine employees who are less likely to slip and fall (such as teachers), the ROI would be lower. However, even then, the ROI would be positive.
To learn more about how educational institutions can use footwear programs to their advantage, check out Shoes For Crew's education-focused safety shoe program.