Wet, slippery floors are one of, if not the most, common causes of slip and fall incidents in facilities.
When people slip and fall, they can seriously hurt themselves and sustain injuries like sprains and broken bones.
This can result in high costs, including loss of productivity and high workers’ compensation claims for your business, so it’s important to minimize slip and fall risks as much as possible. In fact, according to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI), 85% of worker’s compensation claims are caused by slips on slick floors.
Not only do slips and falls affect your staff, but they affect the people that enter your building, as well. When your guests fall in your facility, insurance and liability claims go up.
Slips and falls can have numerous negative effects on your business, but luckily there are several things you can do to lower the risk of slips and falls in your facility.
In this article and video, we’ll review 4 ways to prevent slips and falls in your facility.
How to Prevent Slips and Falls in Your Facility
- Use Floor Signs to Identify Slip Risks
- Install Entrance Mats To Minimize Slips
- Dry Floors With an Air Mover to Reduce Slippery Floors
- Properly Maintain Floor Finish to Avoid Slips and Falls
1. Use Floor Signs to Identify Slip Risks
Floor signs are meant to identify risks that could result in an accident or injury.
When used properly, floor signs warn the people in your building about hazardous areas so they can avoid them.
There are different types of safety signs and each one is used to indicate the severity of the hazard. Caution signs are most commonly used to indicate a wet or slippery floor.
Below, we’ll review what you need to know about floor signs to make sure you are using them most effectively.
Floor Sign Regulations
While floor signs generally have a similar basic design, the colors and wording on the sign will vary based on the hazard being indicated.
According to OSHA regulations, floor signs should be rounded (meaning no sharp edges) to make sure the sign itself doesn’t pose a threat to the safety of your guests.
Signs should also convey information on what the hazard is such as “wet floors.” The wording should be concise and large enough to be read from at least 5 feet away.
Any pictograms on the sign should relate to the hazard, so a slip hazard can have an image of a person falling.
Where to Place Floor Signs
Floor sign placement is critical to its effectiveness.
To be successful in alerting occupants and guests of a hazard, signs should not be too close or too far from an area.
A sign that’s too far from the hazard can cause the people in your building to ignore the warning, while a sign that’s too close may block them from seeing the hazard.
Signs should be used for the entire time that a hazard is present. Removing a sign before an area is clear can leave people subject to injury.
Types of Caution Floor Signs
Caution floor signs are used to identify a hazard that may result in minor to moderate injuries.
These hazards usually include wet and slippery floors, trip hazards, drying floors, or any other related potential hazards. They can also be used to warn of unsafe practices that could result in an accident or injury such as climbing on unstable objects.
Some examples of common caution signs are:
- wet floor signs
- trip hazard signs
- closed for cleaning signs
The standard colors for caution signs are yellow with black lettering because of its ability to stand out to the human eye.
By implementing caution signs in your floor cleaning routine, your facility can experience fewer slip and fall incidents since your staff and guests will be aware of any potential hazards that are present. When your staff and guests can avoid potential hazards, there is less chance that your business will be liable for slip and fall incidents.
2. Install Entrance Mats to Minimize Slips
Entrance mats are crucial to reducing the risks of slips and falls in your facility.
There are three parts of an entrance mat program that, when used together, remove up to 90% of moisture and soils from the shoes of your building’s guests.
Entrance mats are designed to reduce the presence of wet soils like snow, ice, and water that lead to slippery floors. They also protect your floors from damage caused by dirt, liquids, and harsh chemicals that can be tracked in from outside.
Everything you need to know about commercial floor mats including types, sizes, specs, & more!
Less water on your floors will reduce the likelihood of wet floor slip and fall accidents.
When using floor mats to reduce the risk of slips and falls check to make sure that the mat has rubber or vinyl backing for enhanced slip resistance.
This resistance keeps the mat from sliding on the floor when it gets wet, while also keeping the people in your building from slipping when their shoes are wet.
Additionally, some floor mats have a water dam border which allows for moisture to drain from the surface and prevent the accumulation of water, snow, and ice on the floor. If the surface of a floor mat were to remain wet, it could cause your guests to track moisture into your facility and create slippery floors.
By using entrance mats, the chance of people in your building slipping on wet floors as they enter and exit your facility is greatly reduced.
3. Dry Floors With an Air Mover to Reduce Slippery Floors
Air movers, which are commonly used to dry up water damage, can also be used to redirect air closer to the floor and dry wet floors faster.
Sometimes there is wet weather outside of your building, which means more moisture will make its way into your facility. Air movers can be placed near your entryways to shorten dry times in areas where water often leaves floors slick.
With an air mover pointed at the floor near your entryways, any excess water that’s not removed by entry mats can be dried up before it creates a slip hazard.
Air movers can also be used to dry floors after routine floor cleaning, like mopping.
It is important that floors are completely dried before the people in your building walk onto them. If floors are walked on before they’ve dried, it can lead to chemicals, water, and soils being tracked to other parts of the facility. These tracked soils can lead to slip and fall hazards.
By using air movers, not only can the risk of slip and fall injuries to the people in your building be reduced, but you can also lower your risk of injury-related costs.
4. Properly Maintain Floor Finish to Avoid Slips and Falls
Your floor finish is the protective barrier between your floors and the shoes of your guests, so it’s important that the finish is well maintained.
When your finish starts to wear and becomes heavily damaged, it should be replaced to minimize the damage to your floors and risk to your building’s guests.
If too few coats of floor finish are applied, you could also experience slippery floors. This is because your bare floor may not be completely covered. Floor finishes create more walking friction than your bare floor so if there’s not enough finish on your floor it could lead to a higher risk of slips and falls.
Pro Tip: Contrary to what many people think, a high shine on a floor does not mean that it is slippery. A high-quality floor finish actually makes a floor less slippery than an unfinished floor.
A good practice when re-applying floor finish when performing a strip and wax is to apply 3-4 coats and testing your floor for slip resistance. This practice can make sure that you don’t have excessive slip and fall incidents from walking through your facility.
Reducing the risk of slips and falls in your facility is important to keeping your guests safe and reducing your overall costs.
Workers can spend days out of work and need to collect worker’s compensation if they slip and fall. Guests that have slip and fall incidents can cost you high insurance and liability claims.
To help keep your building safe, you can implement several safety measures. Start with making sure your janitorial staff is using floor signs in areas that pose a slip and fall risk. Visible signs make it clear there is a hazard in the area, encouraging staff and guests to exercise more caution.
Entrance mats can also help reduce the amount of moisture on your facility’s floors, which leaves fewer chances for the people in your building to slip on wet floors.
If there are wet floors in your facility, you could use an air mover to speed up the process of drying your floors. Dry floors make it easier for people to move through your facility safely.
Floor finish not only gives your floors a clean, glossy look, but it can also reduce the chances of the people in your building slipping on your floors. Having enough floor finish on the floors of your facility is important to creating a safer environment for the people in your building.
Looking for ways to lower workers’ comp claims, insurance costs, and security risks in your building by reducing the risk of slips and falls? Contact a specialist today for a review of your floor safety protocols throughout your building.
If you’re located in the United States, Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, or Canada, Imperial Dade locations can help you with your janitorial needs.