Are You Falling Down on the Job?
Reducing Your Areas of Risk
In a hotel operation, there are many risks that could potentially cause injuries to guests, visitors, and contractors. To better understand these risks, Liberty Mutual conducted loss analysis of more than 7,000 general liability claims. Here’s an overview of this analysis to help you identify and prioritize your risks.
The majority of guest-room claims involved slipping and falling in bathrooms and in living rooms. Slippery tub or shower and lack of or inadequate grab bars were frequent causes. Several cases of objects falling (shower chairs, mirrors, head broads, grab bars, etc.) or leaks from toilet bowls, air-conditioning units, and other appliances indicate the need for improved maintenance. Bed bugs were reported in 44 percent of the guest room-related claims.
Lobby and Common Areas
The majority of the incidents in common areas involved slips, trips, and falls. Mopping, shampooing carpets, and outside water coming into the lobby were among the main reasons for slips. Improper carpets, rugs, floor mats, and extension cords were key reasons for people tripping and falling. Revolving doors and self-closing doors causes some of the injuries to guests.
Most of the claims related to stairs or steps. Poor lighting and broken step edges also contributed to falls. Nearly one-third of the claims in this category involved elevators:
- Getting caught in doors
- Doors not reversing direction when an object enters
- Jerking motion or fall of elevators
Water leakage or flooding were reported in large number of claims; leaks from ceiling, bathrooms, appliances in the room, etc.
A large number of damage claims occurred in parking lots or garages. Falls on sidewalks accounted for one third of claims, mostly missing the step-down, and tripping over broken or uneven surfaces.
More than 60 percent of these claims involved getting bitten by insects (not counting bed bugs) or animals, and 27 percent involved claims of health effect due to exposure to cleaning chemicals. Twelve percent of the claims involved personal illnesses, such as heart attack or fainting for unknown reasons.
Two-thirds of recreational claims involved swimming pools. Most were slip, trip, and fall incidents; striking something; or cuts from something inside the pool. There were several claims related to chemicals used for water treatment, either causing rash or discoloration of their clothing. Hot tubs, Jacuzzi, whirlpool, and steam rooms had similar types of claims.
Possible Actions to Reduce Risks
There are many actions that could be taken to help reduce injury risks in hotels. Based on this loss analysis and our experiences, here are a few key actions for your consideration:
- Guest bathrooms: Verify surfaces are not slippery. Provide mats or treat surfaces; install grab bars according to the standards in all guest bath tubs and showers, not just ADA rooms. Make sure they are secured properly.
- Sidewalks: Repair sidewalks as needed to ensure they are even and there are no cracks or broken surfaces.
- Elevators: Verify effective maintenance has been performed to prevent sudden stop or drop, and that the doors open if there is an obstacle between the doors.
- Staircases: Verify steps and their edges are in good condition; provide contrasting color on edges of the first and last steps between each landing to highlight the presence of steps. Provide handrails and ensure they are secure.
- Cords: Eliminate use of extension cords if you can; otherwise, ensure that cords are tucked away from traffic areas and color contrasts against the carpet or floor.
- Carpets: Verify carpets are stretched tight and do not have wrinkles or waves.
- Air conditioners in guest rooms: Check and maintain these units to prevent water leaks and fires.
- Lighting: Provide sufficient lighting in staircases and around swimming pools; ensure that burned out light bulbs are replaced. Ensure that lamps in guest rooms have bulbs and not empty sockets.
- Mopping or shampooing carpets: Clean carpets when there is minimum traffic. Place caution signs in proper places. Use methods and materials that are quick drying, and train employees to verbally remind people of the wet floor.
- Nightlights in guest rooms: Utilize nightlights to prevent guests from bumping into objects when they get up to go bathroom during the night.
Don’t fall down on the job! Take time to do your part by identifying your risks, taking the steps to mitigate it and by correcting it before an injury takes place. You’ll be glad you did. | Liberty Mutual Insurance
Liberty Mutual Insurance • CConsultingCenter@libertymutual.com
For more than 60 years, the award-winning Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety (Libertymutualgroup.com/research) has helped to improve the safety and health of people throughout the world. Owned and operated by Liberty Mutual Insurance®, the Institute conducts peer-reviewed research to advance scientific knowledge and help reduce injuries and prevent disability. Liberty Mutual has been partnering with the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association for more than 30 years and is passionate about providing members with insurance programs and evidence-based safety solutions tailored to the hospitality industry’s needs. Today, the ORLA-endorsed program covers more than 1,000 members and has saved participants over $100 million in insurance costs. For more information, contact your independent insurance agent or call 800.463.6381.
The principles contained in this material are general in scope and, to the best of our knowledge, current at the time of publication. Liberty Mutual Insurance specifically disclaims all liability for damages or personal injury alleged to arise from reliance on the information contained in this document.
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