Recently, I sat down with Dennis Fetzer, a premises liability and accident prevention expert for Fetzer Consulting and member of the Board of Directors of the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI), to discuss developing customer accident prevention programs and corporate safety procedures to keep building occupants safe.
Excerpts from that discussion follow below:
Rathey: With large retail customers clamoring for low prices and clean floors, how can slip and fall safety be introduced as a value added part of the sale?
Fetzer: Companies can significantly reduce slip and fall accidents by using products that have been certified by NFSI to meet the B101.1 wet slip resistance standards set forth by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in conjunction with NFSI.
Lowering accident costs can allow a merchant to lower prices, attract more customers and increase sales.
Rathey: Why do some floor care customers have a negative attitude toward risk management — or why are floor care customers reluctant to spend money on accident prevention — and what can be done about it?
Fetzer: Retail operators want to increase sales and decrease expenses.
Risk management spends the money on accident claims that store operators work so hard to make on sales.
They sometimes see risk management as killing profits.
They need to be educated in the ways that risk management increases their profits by helping them to prevent accidents.
There is no cost for accidents that never happen.
Rathey: Are there accident prevention programs or products in floor care that pay for themselves in savings by reducing other operating costs?
Fetzer: Innovative advances in technology and equipment design have resulted in products that can pay for themselves by reducing labor costs.
One company even has a savings calculator that shows the customer how much money the customer can save by using its products.
Rathey: How can you respond to the typical reasons that customers give for not wanting to invest time and money on accident prevention products and programs?
Fetzer: Typical excuse: "I don''t need to prevent accidents; that''s what I carry insurance for."
Good response: Accident costs increase insurance premiums.
Typical excuse: "Accident prevention expenses can add up in a hurry."
Good response: Jury verdicts can add up in a hurry, too.
Typical excuse: "I just increase prices to pay for accidents."
Good response: Increased prices reduce sales.
Typical excuse: "I don''t want to spend money, I want to save money."
Good response: Accident prevention saves money.
Rathey: How can I convince customers that accident prevention proposals will work and will be cost effective?
Fetzer: Case studies are available to show that products that meet the ANSI/NFSI B101.1 wet slip resistance standards can significantly reduce slip and fall accidents.
Demo projects are also used to show a customer how a specific product can help them to reduce accident costs.
Allen Rathey is president of InstructionLink/JanTrain Inc. of Boise, Idaho. He also serves as president of the Housekeeping Channel (HC), the Healthy House Institute (HHI) and the Healthy Facilities Institute (HFI). Rathey promotes healthy indoor environments, and writes and speaks on healthy cleaning and facility topics.