Dance risk management news - Vol. 1, 2018

Choreographing a slip, trip, and fall prevention routine
One, two, three; one, two, three; fall, slip, and trip! This cadence is one we see often at Markel. Trip and fall, along with slip and fall accidents, are the leading causes of injury-related claims for Markel’s insurance program for dance. By gaining an understanding of historical data, clients can develop strategies to effectively support an accident-free goal. Based on a five-year review of claims reported, some of the more frequent accidents involved:

Male dance with hat low

  • Falls
  • Slip and falls inside the studio
  • Slip and falls on ice
  • Trip and falls during rehearsal and recital activities

With that in mind, many accidents/claims reported by Markel’s dance program clients can be prevented. Here’s how:
  • Keep interior walkways and waiting areas free of tripping hazards. Never allow dancers to place bags, clothes, shoes, or props in aisles or on steps.
  • Maintain external walkways. Remove snow and ice from walkways, and apply ice melt in areas that might refreeze. Repair holes in the parking area and remove obvious tripping hazards. Paint handicapped ramps with yellow nonskid-warning paint to help increase visibility.
  • Inspect public areas. Before recitals or other public programs, inspect all public areas, including bathrooms and dressing rooms.
  • Keep people out of restricted areas. Restrict access to hazardous areas and post a notice advising the area is off limits.
  • Keep parents and visitors out of the wings. They can easily create a distraction for performers. To prevent family members from possible falls while walking around taking pictures or videos, consider hiring a professional to videotape performances and let the family purchase a copy.
  • Use absorbent mats on wet days. Place mats at all entranceways. Make sure mats have slip-resistant backings and are long enough to dry shoes when people walk on them. Change dirty or saturated mats for clean ones, and replace mats that curl up at the edges.
  • Post “wet floor” signs when necessary. Wet floor sign
  • Understand your leasing agreement. If you’re required to maintain your leased premises, you must be persistent to ensure that your landlord performs necessary repairs. Document your conversations and send written correspondence confirming them. If the landlord is unwilling to work with you, it may be time to consider moving your business elsewhere.
  • Do a preliminary walk-through on rental facilities. If your contract requires you to provide liability insurance when renting auditoriums for recitals, do a preliminary walk-through, checking the walk areas and restroom facilities. Delegate someone to check these areas every half-hour during the recital, and keep a record of it. It’s important to view the rental site when the performance lights are on to see where potential hazards may be hiding.
  • Keep walkways well lit. Make sure walkways, hallways, and stairways are clearly illuminated.
  • Use ushers. Have ushers with flashlights escort guests to their seats after a performance begins.

Take a grand jete in accident prevention ballet dancer in beige dress jumping
Markel’s risk management library offers numerous resources to support your efforts to help you keep your clientele safe. You can access the library here.

Implementing corrective action plans
Equipped with the above information, you can now move forward with proactive action plans to help maintain a safe studio environment. Accident Investigation Techniques – Second Edition, offers the following steps that may help support your efforts.

To be effective in preventing future accidents, corrective actions should be implemented using a three step process:

  1. Develop the corrective actions after the investigation produces causal factors. (A causal factor is an event or circumstance that helped to cause an accident.)
  2. Track the corrective actions. A database is useful for organizing and tracking information about the corrective actions.
  3. Follow up to ensure that the corrective actions have been followed as initiated. If a corrective action is not used, accident prevention is not ensured.

Preventing Accidents further outlines more specific actions to help guide each step.

Tips for developing corrective actions:

  • Every accident should have at least one causal factor.
  • Develop at least one corrective action for each causal factor.
  • Communicate corrective actions clearly.
  • Make causal factors and corrective actions very specific so that the worker, supervisor, or manager knows exactly what the problem is and how to fix it.

Tips for tracking corrective actions:

  • Establish a timetable for each corrective action. If all the actions are assigned to a specific department or individual, they are usually implemented in a timely manner.
  • Consider using a database to track corrective actions. Include fields for a description of the action, an anticipated completion date, and the party responsible for carrying out the action.
  • Conduct a follow-up to make sure the corrective actions are in place and working correctly.

Follow-up steps:

  • Check that the corrective action has been completed correctly.
  • Make certain the corrective action works to prevent accidents.
  • Ensure that the corrective action is being used.
  • Be proactive. A follow-up is an excellent opportunity to observe hazards in the field. When performing the follow-up, check to see if any other hazards could cause an accident. Any hazard that has the potential to cause injury, illness, or damage should be analyzed and corrected.


Reference:     Oakley, Jeffery S. Accident Investigation Techniques, Second Edition.  Des Plaines, IL.  The American Society of Safety Engineers. 2012

The information provided in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as all encompassing, or suitable for all situations, conditions, and environments. Please contact us or your attorney if you have any questions.