An employee slips on a wet floor -- then falls and breaks her arm. Another employee looking for products on an upper shelf trips over some packing materials, falls and strains his lower back. And an older customer, who has difficulty seeing, falls over a shopping cart and dislocates his shoulder trying to catch himself. These are just three examples of the many ways slip, trip and fall injuries occur at chain stores and in other retail operations. According to the 2008 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, falls on the same level resulted in $6.4 billion in direct costs to employers to the United States in 2006. Falls to a lower level resulted in $5.3 billion in direct costs to employers that year. Within retail operations, recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that employees experienced on average 22.2 days away from work per 10,000 employees in 2007 as a result of non-fatal falls on the same level. The number of lost workdays was significantly higher for certain establishments, workplaces or departments where meat products are handled. Similarly, stores in which pets and pet supplies are sold also have high rates of these types of costly injuries. Experts say these injuries are not just a function of the type of work performed or business in which it is performed, but also a result of the type of floor surface. When you combine work activity that may be considered 'messy' with floors that are often unsuited for the type of work performed, you have a recipe for more injuries. Reducing the risk of costly slip, trip and fall injuries can positively impact your bottom line.
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