Slips and Falls Study:
Objective Auditing Techniques to Control Slips and Falls in Restaurants
More than 3 million food service employees and over 1 million guests are injured annually as
a result of restaurant slips and falls, according to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI).The NFSI indicates that the industry spends over $2 billion on such injuries each year and that these injuries are increasing at a rate of about 10% annually.
According to the National Restaurant Association, slips and falls are the greatest source of
general liability (GL) claims within the restaurant industry.2
CNA’s loss results mirror the
National Restaurant Association information. Slips-and-falls injuries continue to be the
leading source of GL losses incurred by our policyholders.
According to the National Safety Council, slips and falls constitute one of the leading causes
of accidental death in the United States.
With the aging baby boomer generation, the size and scope of this issue is expected to grow
significantly. The NFSI estimates that between 2005 and 2020, the number of seniors in the
U.S. will increase from 35 million to 77 million.
Statistically, seniors are far more likely to experience a slip-and-fall accident. For those that are injured, the cost of treatment and recovery time is significantly greater than the average for non-seniors. According to the
Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention, these types of injuries are also the leading
cause of hospital admission for older adults.
There are five major causes for slip-and-fall accidents:
Lack of slip resistance on walking surfaces
Poor walking surface conditions
Lack or poor condition of handrails and guardrails
Wanting to help policyholders improve safety and continue profitable growth, CNA
conducted a case study on slips and falls in the restaurant industry, which experiences more
of these events than other industries we service. This paper reviews the approach taken by
CNA Risk Control in our case study to deal with the first two causes stated above with a CNA
policyholder, a large national restaurant chain.
Our white paper will focus specifically on the application of a new technology and a
systematic auditing technique to help objectively identify problem areas and communicate
findings and suggestions for improvement. One of the primary objectives of the study was to
monitor and document the results of floor cleaning and maintenance activities so the
decision was made early on to complete readings and measurements during non-business
hours. Furthermore, since the primary issue for the company was customer slips and falls, the decision was made to limit our study sampling toonly “front of the house” areas of thestores, where customers have primary exposure to slips and fall.
BACKGROUNDSince 2001, CNA’s policyholder had identified patronslips and falls as the leading source ofGL claims. While the company, a fast-growingnational restaurant chain, tried severalremedies and experienced some progress in this area as measured on a per-store basis, fallscontinued to serve as their primary “loss leader” from a GL standpoint.CNA initially began working with the customer onslips-and-falls issues in April 2004. At thattime, a series of floor slip resistance tests were completed at selected locations. Guest slip-and-fall injuries were confirmed as the primary driving force of the company’s GL losses, bothin terms of frequency and severity. By December 2004, the company approached CNA for assistance in developing and implementinga more aggressive slip-and-fall prevention program.
In March 2005, the company rolled out an internal slip-and-fall prevention programnationwide. Over this same time frame, CNA formed a strategic partnership with the NFSI.The NFSI was founded in 1997 as a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to “aid in the prevention of slip and fall accidents through education, training and research.” The NFSI,headquartered in Southlake, TX, is the only organization of its kind exclusively focused on slip-and-fall accident prevention.