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 lead to significant legal awards against property owners and landlords, so it’s wise to take precautions.
A recent study by the insurance company CNA makes the following recommendations for commercial property owners:
- Putting carpet runners and mats at an entrance-way 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 can be more slippery than no mat at all, and can result in dirt and other slick material 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 stair 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.
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