Have you read the slip and Fall Checklist? No business is immune to the dangers of slips and falls. The risk is everywhere. Accidents happen. People are prone to these accidents, even under the best conditions. The risk of slips and falls is why business owners need to be diligent in considering the conditions of the surfaces of their building and surrounding facilities. It's not only essential to protect your staff, clients, and guests. It's critical to the survival of your company to protect yourself.
At Creative Maintenance Solutions, we understand the vulnerability of flooring systems. Our slip and fall checklist guides you through the potential hazards of your existing floors and teaches you how to minimize the risk of painful injuries and crippling lawsuits.
Slip and Fall Statistics
Before we dive into the potential problems of your concrete flooring system and our slip and fall checklist, let's talk numbers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, thousands of workplace slips and falls are reported yearly. They are the most frequently reported accidents in the workplace. Most falls occur because of unacknowledged dangers or inattention. But, regardless of the reason, the majority of falls are preventable with the proper safety precautions in place.
The CDC (Center for Disease Control) reports that falls are the primary cause of lost work time. When an employee falls on the job, the median cost to the company is $40,000 per incident in medical expenses, repairs, and damages. Approximately 1 in 6 accidents result in time off, and the employee misses an average of 11 days of work. In total, slips and falls cost employers over $17 billion yearly. That number seems unbelievable. But considering that slip and fall accidents account for more than one million hospital visits each year, it's easy to see how the costs add up. The Consumer Product Safety Commission states that flooring materials contribute to over 2 million fall-related injuries annually in the United States alone. Furthermore, 17,000 deaths result from these accidents.
A professional concrete flooring company like Creative Maintenance Solutions should be brought in for routine safety assessments on your concrete flooring system. Continue reading our slip and fall checklist to understand better some of the threats associated with commercial and industrial flooring surfaces.
Identifying Slip and Fall Dangers in a Commercial or Industrial Setting
This slip and fall checklist will help you spot the dangers of your commercial or industrial flooring before an accident happens. Because of the sheer amount of foot traffic these companies see daily, every inch of flooring in these settings must be scrutinized. The number one cause of slip and fall accidents in commercial and industrial environments is negligence by the property or business owner.
Proper Inspections and Routine Maintenance Prevent Slip and Fall Accidents
When we think of slips and falls, our minds think of icy or wet conditions. This isn't always the case. Broken concrete, cracked flooring, and debris contribute to slip and fall accidents. Regular flooring inspection prevents this issue, allowing you to identify and rectify the situation before it becomes a dangerous problem. Timely repairs minimize the possibility of lawsuits against your commercial or industrial business. If a victim can prove that a business was aware of a hazard and left it untreated, you will be liable for damages. We will discuss your company's legal ramifications later in our slip and fall checklist. For now, we will address the following questions:
As a business owner, have I taken corrective measures before an accident occurs?
Whether you own or rent a property, as the owner of a commercial or industrial company, you must do everything you can to ensure the safety of anyone entering your facility or walking on your property. Contact a respected concrete floor coating company like Creative Maintenance Solutions to request an assessment. A knowledgeable professional will walk the premise with you, pointing out potential risk areas like a low-lit pathway, uneven or damaged flooring, improper flooring for the tasks done in the specified area, or portions of the floor that should have additional skid and slip protection. This brings us to the next question on our slip and fall checklist:
Is my current concrete flooring appropriate for the tasks being performed?
Different areas of your business need task-appropriate flooring. Dangerous walking conditions are created if an inadequate concrete floor coating is applied. For example, a department that is regularly exposed to water, like a commercial kitchen, requires an extra application of slip-resistant aggregate. An area where heavy containers or products are carried should not have a glossy flooring system. By considering the type of work being done in an area, companies significantly reduce the risk of slips and falls and greatly minimize the risk and liability of the business. The staff at Creative Maintenance solutions specializes in risk management and safety assessments.
Have there been changes to the flooring surface that need to be addressed?
Wear and tear, heavy machinery traffic, chemical exposure, moisture, and temperature all affect concrete floor coatings. Over time the surface experiences damage. Often minimal, any change in the surface can add to the probability of a slip and fall accident. Proper measures, like routine inspections, minimize these risks. Employees should be made aware of any other changes in the flooring, like replacing carpet or wood flooring with polished concrete, so they can adjust accordingly. Moving from tiles to concrete, or vice versa changes the texture of the flooring surface. When customers and staff are aware of these changes, accidents are reduced. As a side note to this slip and fall checklist, Creative Maintenance Solutions recommends always using a non-slip concrete floor coating additive in high-traffic areas.
What kind of flooring do I need to install in wet areas?
Let's elaborate on wet areas a little more, considering the increased likelihood of accidents in these places. Bathrooms, kitchens, and shower areas get slippery frequently. Similarly, parts of the building where liquids are managed, such as scientific laboratories, chemical storage areas, and beverage facilities, have an increased chance of spills. Even after a spill is cleaned up, the residue left can create slick spots on the concrete flooring. Wet floor signs and postings warning employees and guests to be cautious must be installed in the area. Likewise, the proper precaution of gripped texture and slip-resistant epoxy prevent accidental falls.
How often are the floors cleaned in my facility?
What is your regular maintenance routine? Are your floors cleaned daily? What is the cleaning procedure? These questions and others like them could make up their own slip and fall checklist. Anytime a concrete floor is exposed to spills, water, or moisture, there is a potential for a rise in slip and fall accidents. Keeping your floors clean at all times lessens the opportunity for accidents. In addition to minimizing wetness, as discussed earlier in our slip and fall checklist, debris and dust need to be removed daily. This is just as important as using drip guards in high spill areas or specialty exhaust systems in regions that experience high moisture. Creative Maintenance Solutions will help you put specific maintenance procedures in place to ensure the safety of your clients and employees, and that will drastically reduce any risk of slip and fall accidents.
Do all work zones have adequate lighting?
Building owners and operators must assess the lighting options required for all work zones. Inadequate lighting combined with dark or dingy flooring creates the dangerous potential of slips and falls. Special consideration should be given to areas like staircases, entryways, and hallways. In addition to the proper light fixtures and bulb strength, light-colored or bright concrete floor coatings add an additional layer of protection. Sections of the building without handrails or safety tape need to have more lighting than other sections to reduce the chance of accidental slips.
Have I thoroughly inspected the outdoor walking areas of my property?
Outdoor walkways and landscaping inspections are just as vital, if not more, than your indoor inspections. Exposure to the elements like wind, rain, snow, and other weather conditions creates advanced deterioration of concrete. The growth of objects like moss, grass, and mold impedes walking and adds excessive slipperiness to the ground. Regular cleaning and removal of these obstructions lessen the risk. Keep your outdoor concrete free from unintentional hazards.
What are the Legal Ramifications for a Company?
Premises liability law states that all commercial enterprises are responsible for keeping their property danger-free and safe. This applies especially to flooring surfaces that can lead to plausible slip and fall accidents. As a business or property owner, how do you know if you're legally responsible for a workplace mishap? For you to be held legally responsible for a guest or employee's slip and fall injury, a few factors are taken into consideration. They are:
- Did the owner cause or ignore a potential hazard like a spill, an imperfection in the flooring, or any other condition that led to the accident?
- Did the owner know, or should they have known about the dangerous walking conditions, and did they do nothing to rectify those conditions?
- Should the owner have known about the hazardous conditions as any person responsible for maintaining the property or facility would?
As you can see by the vagueness of these questions and their possible answers, the liability of commercial and industrial business owners is uncertain and not in favor of you. By taking reasonable precautions and doing everything you can to minimize the risk of slip and fall accidents in your commercial or industrial facility, you will help avoid liability claims against you. Any violation of any of these questions has the potential to damage your chance of winning a lawsuit filed against you and your business.
Who can help me assess my property and flooring for potential slip and fall hazards?
Creative Maintenance Solutions is a Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based company with clientele nationwide. Our roster of clients ranges from residential homeowners to Fortune 500 companies. We have been providing concrete safety and flooring solutions since 1989 and back our work with unparalleled quality and product guarantees.
Our reputation as one of the leading epoxy and polished concrete floor coating contractors is the result of three decades of expert installations, natural solutions, and top-notch customer service. Our skilled staff and time-tested flooring solutions span an array of needs, budgets, and timelines. We're proud of the fact that we lay the foundation for safe, productive work environments.
Contact an experienced, professional concrete flooring system specialist like Creative Maintenance Solutions to assess your property and flooring for potential slip and fall hazards. We specialize in epoxy floor coatings, as well as polished concrete flooring for a wide variety of industries. Whether you run a commercial kitchen or corporate office, a manufacturing facility, or a food processing plant, we will make your company a safe workplace.
As your trusted concrete flooring partner, we promise to fix your cracked, uneven or damaged concrete floor. Not only will your flooring system be safe and functional, but it will also look brand new and have increased durability. Our state-of-the-art concrete flooring systems, combined with our team of continually-educated professionals, provide innovative solutions to all of your safety and functionality questions.
Contact us today to request a concrete flooring system safety assessment or to learn more about our concrete floor coatings services like epoxy floor coating, urethane cement flooring, polished concrete, decorative concrete, surface preparation, and concrete sealers.
We lay the foundation for an attractive, clean, safe work environment.