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Taking Control of Frequency, Likelihood and Severity of Loss Exposures

- April 29, 2016 by Leslie Stoll, CSP, ARM (View all posts by Leslie)

What’s the most effective way to prevent an injury? Stop doing the activity that contributed to the injury.

If only it were that simple!  While eliminating the risk of injury is possible for most businesses by outsourcing, modifying or removing a process , completely wiping out an exposure is not a viable reality. So, as risk managers and team leaders, the next most effective strategy is to reduce your risk by managing the frequency, likelihood and severity of your exposures.

This is the approach we take with our customers at ICW Group. If you asked your ICW Group risk managers for help eliminating the risk of a slip and fall, we could recommend that you prohibit walking in your facility.  However, , that’s not a reasonable recommendation for one of our risk managers to make—so we don’t. We look at your exposure another way.

Reducing the Frequency, Likelihood and Severity Risk of Walking

To reduce your employees’ risk of slipping and falling, we can help you minimize their frequency of exposure, likelihood of exposure, and/or severity of exposure. To better clarify what I mean by these three terms, I’ve applied them to the slip and fall example. So, let’s think about this:

Frequency: The more often, or the longer the distance, someone walks, the higher the chances of them slipping. What can you do to change this?
• Can you reduce the number of times your employees walks from point A to point B during a day?
• Can you shorten the distance that employees need to walk by moving point A closer to point B?

Likelihood: Do the working conditions make it that much easier to have an accident? If your employees have to walk, then what precautions can you take to lower the odds that someone will slip and fall?
• Can you change the floor surface to make it less slippery?
• Can you require non-slip shoes?
• Should you add or revamp your floor mats?

Severity: Statistically, accidents are going to happen. What preventive steps can you take to make sure they don’t result in catastrophes to your employees and your bottom line?
• Can you start a wellness program to encourage physical fitness in hopes that not all falls result in injury?
• Can you have a top-notch claims management process to make sure an injured employee receives immediate and appropriate care?

All of the above ideas are reasonable cost-effective strategies to manage the exposure to slips-and-falls. If you have areas where eliminating a hazard or exposure is impossible, and have simply accepted this risk, give your ICW Group Risk Manager a chance to review some other options with you. You may find it’s easier than you think to reduce your exposure—and more effective than rolling the dice and clinging to poor odds.