Under-reporting a Spill

Under-reporting a Spill

Grand Canyon University: AMP-450V

Slips, trips, and falls account for the second largest proportion of lost-workday nonfatal injuries (26%) in the nursing care facilities industry sub sector (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2011). In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) (2018) suggests that falls are the second leading cause of accidental death. Some accidents, such as falls from a spill, could easily be prevented if only the hazard would’ve been reported. Under-reporting can occur if employees feel that they don’t have the authority to report hazards, particularly if they occur in other areas or departments; if they think that someone else will notice the problem; or if they fear retaliation for reporting a hazard (McGurgan, n.d.). In Mike’s case, he decided to ignore the spill because he didn’t want to risk clocking in late and getting terminated from his job. In this paper, we will discuss the consequences and impact of a failure to report the spill and how Mike’s manager will address the issue to prevent this action from ever occurring again.

Mike’s failure to report the spill resulted in a woman breaking her hip and being admitted to the hospital. The patient was shocked and seemed upset because she thought that the hospital was a safe place. She thought that the hospital had certain protocols for preventing trips, falls, and slips in the workplace. The woman was in her right state of mind to believe this, because hospitals should serve as a haven for patients and their families. Lastly, Mike faced the consequence of feeling guilty by refusing to report the spill. He is now debating if he should admit his wrongdoing to his supervisor.

A spill on the floor is more than a nuisance. It is considered a hazard that can lead to unnecessary consequences. The woman’s safety was disturbed by causing her to be hospitalized after falling from the spill that Mike witnessed on the floor. Depending on the patient’s age and health status, she may have a harder time healing from the fall and may face other unnecessary medical procedures, such as surgery to correct the broken hip. The hospital could face a lawsuit if the hospital’s staff knew about a potential injury risk and failed to take any action. In Mike’s case, he knew about the hazardous spill on the hospital floor but chose to ignore it. The hospital, like any other business, should take the reasonable steps to assure the safety of the premises for the benefit of everyone in the health care facility. Mike’s decision impacted the organization’s quality metrics negatively by promoting accidents and unsafe hospitals in the health care facility. A hospital reputation can be damaged along with the need to bear the full medical cost of a preventable fall including possible loss of Medicare/Medicaid funding and the right to provide preventative services. Lastly, patient falls can issue more workload on hospital departments by providing further treatment beyond the original complaint by taking up time and resources that could have been better spent elsewhere.

As a manager of a health care facility, Mike’s manager should’ve implemented and ensured that his staff members knew about safe practices in the beginning. From my perspective, I would not hesitate to report a spill on the floor even if it meant clocking in late. I believe that is more of a priority to report a spill than clock in on time, because patient safety should come first. It only takes a couple of minutes to report a spill, but it could take days or weeks for a person to recover from a fall. If I were Mike’s manager, I would inform Mike that he should make better choices for the benefit of the hospital staff, patients, families, etc. if it were to occur again. I would also have an in-service about spills, the steps to reporting a spill, the correct way to clean a spill, and ways to notify other people that a spill is currently getting cleaned up.

In conclusion, Mike’s failure to report a spill resulted in a woman being admitted to the hospital due to a broken hip. Slips, trips, and falls can be prevented when there is correct and timely reporting of the cause. Workers should also be trained to recognize common workplace slip, trip, and fall hazards and mitigate these hazards promptly (CDC, 2010). With the help of Mike’s manager, Mike should learn that it is okay to take the time to report a spill on the floor as it is the correct action to do. By correcting health care workers intuition about reporting a fall, it can prevent bigger problems from occurring.


Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2011). Incidence rates for nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses involving days away from work per 10,000 full-time workers by industry and selected events or exposures leading to injury or illness, 2010. Retrieved from www.bls. gov/iif/oshwc/osh/case/ostb2832.pdf

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (December 2010). Slip, Trip, and Fall Prevention for Healthcare Workers. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2011-123/pdfs/2011-123.pdf

McGurgan, H. (n.d.). What Are the Consequences of Not Reporting Work Hazards? Retrieved from https://smallbusiness.chron.com/consequences-not-reporting-work-hazards-78507.html

World Health Organization (WHO). (January 16, 2018). Falls. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/falls