You may think slip and falls occur most on ramps or steps, but surprisingly they happen on flat walking surfaces where high traffic is prevalent. Slip and falls are not only dangerous to pedestrians, but can be fatal. There are more than 20,000 fatalities per year in the United States, resulting in roughly 55 per day. Beyond being dangerous, slip and falls can be extremely costly. According to the National Council on Compensation, the annual cost of disabling occupational injuries due to slip and falls exceed $11 billion.
In order to provide safe footing, a static coefficient of friction (SCOF) is required. SCOF measures the slip resistance between your shoe and the walking surface. The accepted method in North America is ASTM D2047 and ASTM C1028. The minimum coefficient of friction is 0.5, while the American Disabilities Act’s standard is 0.6 on level surfaces and 0.8 on ramps. Choosing a higher SCOF value will decrease slip and fall accidents.
When researching different flooring, it’s better to specify floors that require less finish or polish. When the flooring becomes wet it can become extremely slick. There are different flooring surfaces which do not require polish and rely on slip resistant particles to provide slip resistance. Finding a slip resistant surface with high bond strength is important because if the bond strength is weak, then the particles may wear down and become a slick, smooth surface.
Keeping your flooring clean provides a safer surface for employees and pedestrians. Most flooring requires the basic cleaning methods such as sweeping, mopping and scrubbing, but certain flooring may need special attention. For example, food processing plants may accrue grease build-up in certain areas, which is why a high alkaline degreaser and cold water should be used. If you simply clean over the grease, it may act as a polish and become extremely hazardous to employees.
Finnegan, Richard. “Part of the Solution, Not the Problem. The Role of Flooring in Reducing Slips and Falls.” Facility Safety Management. October 2011: 26-28