Despite many businesses taking measures to reduce the chances of one of the most common workplace injuries – slip and fall incidents – nearly half of workplace floors fail to meet safety criteria, according to a new study.
While well-intentioned employers may take steps to reduce slip and fall injuries by ensuring that walking surfaces don’t have standing water on them or are free of clutter, many overlook flooring selections and ongoing maintenance on slip resistance, the study by CNA Financial Corp. suggests.
When testing workplace floors in a number of industries, the insurance company found that 50% failed to produce “a dynamic coefficient of friction level above the minimum threshold of 0.42” set by the American National Standards Institute, according to a press release.
Researchers with CNA also reviewed slip-and-fall liability claims from its workers’ comp clients’ policies between Jan. 1, 2010, and Dec. 31, 2016, and found that the number of slip and fall incidents was high, while the cost of claims was relatively low, compared to other injuries. This was consistent with claim experiences in the wider risk control industry.
CNA found that the industries with the highest rates of slip and fall incidents among workers were:
Here’s a breakdown of where these slip and fall incidents are occurring:
What you can do
You should start by evaluating the flooring you have in your various work areas and ensure that the flooring material and design suits the tasks in each workspace. You should also consider what (if any) contaminants, chemicals or other substances workers are using in the area that may increase the risks of slips and falls.
Australia’s Queensland Work Health and Safety Electrical Safety Office recommends that you consider the following when assessing flooring suitability:
When evaluating flooring, look for:
When choosing flooring products: