Workplace slip and fall accidents cost American businesses billions each year. In an effort to spread awareness for this growing problem, the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) has announced the formation of the Slip-Fall Coalition. The new network consists of NFSI Directors, members, and other non-member associations dedicated to preventing slips, trips, and falls in America’s busiest workplaces.
“Our goal is to build a comprehensive network of organizations, associations, unions, and other stakeholders impacted by the growing costs of slips, trips, and falls,” says Russell Kendzior in a press release in early September. “The problem cannot be solved by the NFSI alone, but NFSI will serve as a catalyst to advance the discussion.”
According to the NFSI, the markets the coalition is expected to penetrate the following markets: elderly Americans, food service, retail, hospitality, institutional cleaning, and education. The growth comes with the help of each markets’ respective leaders, including organizations like the AARP, National Restaurant Association, National Retail Federation, IEHA, ISSA, and the National PTA, among other important contributors.
Advancing the Discussion on Slips and Fall Accidents
Eagle Mat and Floor Products stands with the NFSI during this exciting time and supports the initiative to make American businesses more aware and educated on slip and fall accidents. In honor of the new NFSI coalition, the editors of the Eagle Mat Blog have compiled the following frequently asked questions (FAQs) to help advance the discussion on slips and falls in the workplace.
1. Which commercial settings are most prone to slip and fall accidents?
Slip and fall accidents are most common in restaurants, bars, and other locations that rely on food services as a primary means of revenue. Because these commercial businesses predominantly use kitchen areas to produce revenue, employees are exposed to a great deal of risk from liquid spills, food debris, slick floor surfaces, and more.
2. How much is spent on workplace related accidents each year?
The total amount spent on workplace accidents varies each year. Most recently, the Workplace Safety Index released a 2010 study that showed more than $13 billion in total costs in the year 2008 alone. Alarmingly, the 2010 Safety Index also demonstrated that the cost of slip and fall accidents increased between 1998 and 2008 (as measured in ‘real cost’ adjusted for inflation). In that same period, the other 4 top 5 injury categories each showed a decrease in real cost.
3. What is the best way to prevent workplace accidents?
One of the best ways to prevent costly workplace accidents is through a proactive workplace risk assessment that aims to highlight potentially dangerous conditions. Using this method of accident prevention, businesses are able to improve workplace safety through performing the following 5 steps:
- Hazards: Identify them.
- Harm: Determine how it will happen.
- Risks: Develop precautionary measures that alleviate specific risks.
- Record: Keep a record of findings to use as a benchmark for success.
- Review: Revisit the risk assessment as frequently as needed, being sure to invest in new safety technologies and develop new protocols whenever necessary.
4. What are some of the variables that make a workplace more, or less, safe?
No two workplaces are exactly the same. It stands to reason, then, that no two workplaces will gain the same benefits from the same safety products and protocols. To better understand the unique risks of a particular workplace, it’s vital to consider the following variables and how they ultimately impact the risk of slips and falls:
- Weather: When is it most sever and unpredictable, and what can be done about it?
- Visitors/Customers: What are the busiest times of the day, week, month, and year?
- Maintenance: Are maintenance personnel aware of the fluctuations in weather/customers above, and are they empowered to do something about it?
- Safety Products: Can safety products like entrance mats, signage, crowd control systems, and stair treads alleviate the dangers of certain areas?
- Cleanliness: Are spills cleaned immediately? Are safety products properly cleaned and capable of performing as needed?
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To learn more about the NFSI Slip-Fall Coalition, read the full press release here.