Slip and fall incidents aren’t just embarrassing for the visitor, customer or employee who falls victim to them. As any FM knows, slips and falls can easily become liability claims.
CNA Risk Control, the risk exposure management arm of the insurance provider CNA, examined six years of slip and fall liability claims and found trends of low severity but high frequency, both of which are consistent with the rest of the risk control industry. You may worry more about the costs of the most severe slip and fall claims, but a long string of smaller claims adds up quickly and can create a significant financial burden for your organization, even if you never deal with a large claim.
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Protect your organization, reputation, employees and visitors by taking action against potential slip and fall hazards. These four strategies can help reduce your exposure, according to CNA Risk Control.
1) Choose the right flooring. Don’t just look at the features of the flooring itself. Consider the space you’ll install it in and the environment it will be subjected to. Assess the qualities of the surface, what cleaning agents and equipment you’ll need, and how the surface will be finished. Account for these factors in your final decision.
2) Test for slip resistance. Routine slip resistance testing helps your organization comply with specifications from flooring manufacturers. When you know the surface’s original coefficient of friction, you can also make better decisions about cleaning solutions, finishes and sealants that will maintain that coefficient.
3) Clean correctly. The wrong cleaning agent or method can lead directly to a slip and fall accident, so it’s vital that you use the right products and equipment for your flooring. If you use a third-party cleaning service, ensure that they’re aware of what cleaning products to use where. Janitorial vendors should also be vetted for financial stability, ethical practices and existing risk management structure.
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4) Promote awareness. Occupants and visitors can do some of the work of protecting themselves if you make them aware of risks like surface variation and glare. Display signage in areas with floor elevation changes and use design or decorative selection to reduce glare and create visual cues that encourage safe walking. Remove obstacles from walkways and place mats near entrances to encourage people to remove contaminants from their shoes.