Injuries from slips and falls cause nearly 700 fatalities per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Additionally, non-fatal slip and fall incidents are the number one cause of injury for people aged 55 years and older. Despite the high frequency of these type of injuries, about 25,000 daily in the United States, facility managers have several tools at their disposal to reduce walkway conditions for slips and falls.
Improving walkway conditions for employees and patrons is important to minimize slips and falls. General Liability Insurance Premiums are greatly impacted by the reported incidents of injuries due slips and falls claims in any business. With compensation and medical costs from employee slip and fall accidents reaching $70 billion per year, facility managers have additional incentives to take precautions for building occupant safety.
Defining Slips and Falls
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) defines slips and falls separately based on their differing relationships with friction, momentum and gravity.
Slips are a loss of balance caused when there is too little friction between people’s feet and the floor. Loss of traction from wet surfaces, such as spills or weather hazards like ice and snow, is the primary cause of workplace slips.
Tools and Procedures for Preventing Slips and Falls
Slips and falls are the leading cause of lost workdays for employees. Moreover, 85% of worker’s compensation claims are due to injuries from slipping on unclean floors where grease, oil or moisture are present. To reduce these walkway conditions in your facility, take a comprehensive approach to promoting safety with training, products and floor cleaning.
Train for injury avoidance. When conducting employee safety training, be sure to review OSHA safety guidelines. Remind everyone to keep all walkways free of obstacles and to never carry loads big enough to impede vision.
Choose certified high-traction tools. The National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) provides a list of High Traction products certified to reduce walkway conditions for slips and falls. An example would be to utilize a certified dual-cavity bucket that reduces the redepositing of soils back onto freshly cleaned floor surfaces. Also, follow best practices for cleaning tools such as using color-coded mops to designate work zones in order to minimize conditions of cross contamination of liquids that contribute to unsafe floor conditions.
Require appropriate footwear. It’s also important to check that all employees are wearing appropriate shoes, as a U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) study found staff wearing five-star rated slip-resistant shoes saw a 67% reduction in slips. High-traction shoes can make the difference between retaining balance and a serious injury.
Pre-test cleaning products. When using a new product, test it on a small section of the floor to ensure it’s compatible with the surface. Follow all manufacturer instructions regarding safety and proper application.
Plan cleaning schedules thoughtfully.Consider peak hours when scheduling floor cleanings. Also, take into account weather conditions as they may result in slippery floors. After establishing floor cleaning schedules and procedures, be sure to review them periodically to ensure they are effective and deployed properly.
Display safety signage clearly. Never begin wet floor cleaning before cordoning off areas from foot traffic with highly visible signage. After finishing, make sure the floor surface is dry before removing caution signs.
Take Control of Facility Safety
Promote guest and employee health and safety with a thorough floor maintenance schedule, training and utilizing certified high-traction tools. Interested in using cleaning products certified to reduce the risk of these injures? Visit www.abcoproducts.com for more information.