More than a million people suffer a slip-and-fall injury each year, and some 16,000 die as a result. Slip-and-fall injuries often result in significant legal awards against a business, so it’s wise to take precautions.
A recent study by the insurance company CNA makes the following recommendations for commercial property owners:
- Carpet runners and mats can reduce falls, but make sure mats are not more than a half-inch higher than the floor and inspect them regularly to make sure the ends are not curling up.
- In warm weather, place an abrasive mat outside and an absorptive mat inside. In cold weather, put an absorptive mat just inside the door, followed by an abrasive mat.
- Replace mats regularly. A dirty or soiled mat is worse than no mat at all, and can result in dirt and other slippery materials being tracked into the building.
- Offer visitors plastic bags at the door in which to keep their umbrellas.
- Follow manufacturers’ exact directions when applying floor-cleaning products. Substituting ingredients or failing to follow directions can make floors more slippery.
- Focus cleaning efforts on the most heavily used pathways between doors and interior areas – this is where falls are most likely to occur.
- Avoid confusing carpet patterns on stairs that make it hard to tell where each step ends. On hard surfaces, use abrasive tapes. Outdoor stairs should have stripes on each tread.
- Make sure lighting is adequate in high-traffic areas, and promptly replace burnt-out bulbs.
- Train staff in spill prevention and response.
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