In an effort to better understand how slip and fall accidents occur, CNA partnered with a client to assess how the public use of a commercial space could lead to accidents. Close attention was paid to the ways in which floor spaces were cleaned and maintained; CNA cited this approach to accident assessment as potentially radical in contrast to traditional schools of thought, in which accidents are typically attributed to footwear or clumsiness (i.e. a mis-step, slip, or trip caused by lack of coordination).
At the conclusion of the study, CNA found that slip resistance was the biggest factor when it came to preventing slip and fall accidents. This important finding illustrates that the condition of the floor surface– not the footwear and/or coordination of the individual– is a leading factor in slips, trips, and falls. Additionally, CNA found that improved slip resistance leads to firmer footing, more traction, and a decreased incidence of accidental slip and fall.
Adding context to these findings, CNA General Liability Risk Control Director Dave Ludwin explains:
“While the casual observer might thank that most falls are attributable to footwear or the type of material a floor is made from, it’s actually how and by whom a floor is cleaned that causes slips and falls.”
Read the full case study here.
New Techniques for Preventing Slips, Trips, and Falls
Following the case study, CNA detailed the following tips for property owners that will aid in preventing slip and fall accidents.
1. When building, expanding, or remodeling a commercial facility, advise contractors to use slip-resistant flooring that will provide a high degree of traction.
2. Investigate the flooring material to ensure its slip-resistance is attainable “out-of-the-box.” In some instances, flooring surfaces might need additional treatments following installation.
3. Consult authorities on accident prevention/ facility safety when selecting a floor treatment. CNA recommends visiting the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) for a list of certified products.
4. Monitor cleaning crews and/or maintenance personnel to ensure they are using the proper cleaning materials and supplies.
5. Follow manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning and maintaining flooring surfaces, without losing slip resistance and traction.
6. Review specific cleaning protocols with maintenance personnel to ensure proper the proper cleaning supplies and techniques are being used to maintain safe floor spaces.
7. Be vigilant about monitoring the use of cleaning products, and remove any unauthorized products that may contain chemicals that might ultimately damage floor surfaces (and potentially reduce slip resistance).
8. If your facility uses different cleaning products for different floor surfaces/ facility areas, make sure they are separated and clearly labeled. This will prevent maintenance personnel from inadvertently using the wrong solutions on the wrong flooring surface, which might ultimately lead to damage and decreased slip resistance.
9. Alert maintenance personnel of all permanently installed fixtures, like carpet runners, recessed grill systems, and other commercial mats. Make sure cleaning crews understand that these fixtures must also be cleaned and maintained to maximize slip resistance.
10. Implement a good mat program. According to the CNA, “One of the surest ways to prevent the transmission of dirt, water, and other materials from the outdoors to the interior of the facility is to implement a good mat program.” Preventing the transmission of dirt and debris translates to cleaner floors, improved slip resistance, and fewer slip and fall accidents.
Creating and Implementing an Accident Prevention Plan
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Learn More About the CNA
CNA represents one of the largest insurers of commercial companies and properties. In the United States, CNA is the 7th largest insurer of commercial companies, providing coverage to more than 1 million American organizations and business professionals. CNA is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, and has international offices in both Canada and Europe. To learn more, please visit CNA online.