Samples basket

The top 5 ways to reduce slips and falls in a building

Did you know that 25,000 people are hospitalized every day due to slip and fall incidents and related injuries? In fact, falls contribute to 10% of fatal accidents and 20% of nonfatal accidents. To put this in a monetary perspective, a 2017 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index recorded the total cost of the most disabling workplace injuries to be $59.87 billion.

While preventing slip and fall accidents should be an obvious priority, even the slightest miscalculation can prove to be an expensive liability. According to an estimate from The National Floor Safety Institute, the average cost of legal defense for companies against slip and fall incidents is $50,000.

While preventing every possible slip and fall incident is unrealistic, the right strategies can help reduce the overall risks. Considering factors like slip resistance, seamless transition between areas, proper maintenance and LRVs during the design process can contribute to creating a safer commercial environment for everyone involved.

Download the whitepaperEnsure that your flooring has enough slip resistance.

A slip occurs when there is insufficient traction between your shoes or bare feet and the walking surface. This is
most commonly quantified by something called a Static Coefficient of Friction, or SCoF. The higher the rating, the less likely a slip and fall will occur. When the SCoF rating is lower than 0.6, your employees and customers are at a higher risk of experiencing a slip and fall accident.

However, not all rooms in a building are equal. Areas subject to water and other contaminants are more prone to slips and falls; therefore, higher SCoF levels for these areas are required. While an exact number is impossible to give as every area is different, products with a SCoF of 0.8 or greater are
typically the safer option.

Adjacent walking surfaces having similar coefficients of friction (SCoF).

While flooring surfaces between rooms may differ, this is not something a person will think about when walking
from one area to the next. The sole of your shoe or foot is applied to the flooring surface to create friction, and if the difference in SCoFs between areas is too high, it can cause an accidental trip. The general rule of design is staying within the range of 0.2 SCoF

Clean and maintain flooring regularly per the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Routine cleaning and maintenance is essential for removing dangerous contaminants from your flooring’s surface. Keep in mind however, cleaners, sealers, and waxes all have an impact on slip resistance. Using the wrong maintenance procedures can be detrimental to the slip resistance of your flooring and compromise safety. Avoid this by using products that do not require a finish or polish and adhering to the manufacturer’s recommended cleaning and maintenance guidelines. Certain floors require specialized maintenance routines, and straying from the manufacturer’s instructions may damage the surface integrity of the product.

Smooth, seamless transitions between flooring surfaces.

Contrary to popular belief, a raised transition strip is not the only solution to connecting adjacent surfaces. Similar to a stark difference in the SCoF, raised structures can contribute to accidental trips and impede movement.

A seamless transition via heat welding or other means between areas (such as a wet to dry area transition) gives your flooring a uniform look throughout the building while preventing tripping incidents caused by raised structures.

Use of contrasting LRVs to clearly identify changes in direction or elevation.

Light Reflectance Values (LRVs) and the difference they can make in an environment are not always taken into consideration. LRVs measure contrast of light on a 1 – 100 scale, with 1 being light and 100 being dark. When designing a room, similar values make distinguishing two adjacent finishes difficult, particularly for those with poor vision. A change in elevation can create a dangerous situation for employees and customers alike. Try using a 30 LRV point difference for an adequate visual cue.