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Be Compliant, Reduce Risk and Manage Insurance Costs

Dr Paul Cummins from SeaChange talks about how implementing a preventative risk management system can help business owners reduce the likelihood of onsite accidents.


Every week there is a new story in the media highlighting the problem of rising insurance costs, the challenging claims culture in Ireland and the unfair variability in judgements and pay-outs when a claim does go to court. So, what is a hardware business owner to do? The answer is to implement a preventative risk management system that ensures compliance with the law and proactively reduces the likelihood of accidents and incidents occurring on site.


The Challenge

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) are clamping down on the retail sector. A HSA analysis of over 10,000 workplace inspections between 2010 and 2016 shows that over 30% of workplaces had no slip, trip and fall (STF) risk assessments in place. Given that STF risks are often the most prevailing, frequent and damaging potential risks to a business, it is alarming that over 30% of retailers do not assess this risk and attend to this area. In addition, the facts below demonstrate that the Hardware Retail Sector needs to proactively address the key risks as a priority in terms of managing both tangible and intangible costs to their business:

  1. Ireland is one of the most litigious countries in the EU, with frequency of claims & cost of claims rising year-on-year
  2. Large variation in court judgements result in new precedents and an ever-increasing ‘payment ceiling’ effect
  3. Because of an existing loophole that is not being addressed, claimants can avoid the Injuries Board and claim through private solicitors, thereby dramatically increasing costs for insurers and directly impacting insurance premiums
  4. Preventative safety measures are not sufficiently implemented within business operations to support the defence of certain claims
  5. On average, there is a general lack of ownership and accountability from the employer, customer and employee for their own personal safety and risk awareness around key risks and hazards.


Let’s face it, the playing field is a challenging one, and with our grey legal system and our high claims culture there is always going to be unavoidable incidents that may occur in your business. However, there is a large percentage of accidents that are perfectly avoidable. Numerous examples have been cited in court, where STF hazards were often left on the ground for hours with multiple staff members walking right by them before a member of the public then had accidents. This is a behavioural issue, and the fact that 85% of all accidents are behaviour-based provides further proof that they are preventable. But employers need to know ‘HOW’ to prevent them. This is where the SeaChange Partnership comes in to play


The Solution

SeaChange (www.seachange.ie), an Irish-based company, specialise in providing safety compliance and behaviour-based risk management systems in partnership with clients that span multiple sectors including the hardware retail sector.

They provide visual, interactive and practical systems that provide 100% compliance with legislation and bring safety best practice to life. A key aspect of their approach is their client portal which enables client sites to host key compliance documents provided by SeaChange, track their progress, log proactive safety KPIs, trend key data and update their safety compliance. The client company are supported towards improved performance and are audited annually to measure safety culture progress. They are also provided with key reports and recommendations to help manage their rising insurance costs.

Many of the top insurance companies recognise this best-practice approach because it gets tangible results: average before and after client results following full implementation of the system includes 100% safety compliance rates, 50% reduction in accidents, 42% reduction in claim frequency and 40% reduction in claim costs. From a cost perspective, being safe can save hardware retailers money. The direct and indirect costs of a workplace accident vary across the sector but are always high-impact as they include lost time, lost productivity, cost of investigation and reconciliation process, cost of staff retraining, impact on claims culture, insurance premium increases, legal costs, lost morale, reputation loss, and so on. The average indirect cost of a workplace accident is €6,600!.


Testimonial from Nigel Burton of Topline Burtons “The SeaChange partnership has helped our business engage staff in proactive risk management. It helps increase awareness on site and grow a sense of responsibility amongst staff. The visual tools are simple and easily communicate risk in an effective way. It also ensures ongoing compliance and offers our business support when needed. For me, safety was always a necessity, but the gap was what connected my staff to safety. SeaChange helped fill that gap.”

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