With winter right around the corner, facility managers (fms) and service providers need systems in place to help prevent slips, trips, and falls, all of which escalate this time of year.
Recent studies report:
- 75% of all such accidents occur on the surfaces people walk on every day, such as building floors and entries, stairs, and sidewalks.
- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports slips, trips, and falls constitute more than 15% of all accidents and are second only to vehicle accidents in causing fatalities.
- The National Safety Council reports that one in four visitors to an emergency room are there because of a fall, adding that many times a simple slip results in a trip, causing a fall, which lands the victim in the hospital.
Understanding Slips, Trips, and Falls
The first step in preventing slips, trips, and falls is to better understand what they are. According to Christopher Tricozzi, vice president of sales for Crown Mats and Matting, a matting manufacturer, the following best describes each incident:
- A slip occurs when there is not enough traction between the walker’s feet and the surface walked upon. This might happen when walking on oil, grease, ice, and other slippery substances.
- A trip happens when the walker’s foot contacts an object, such as a cord, wrinkled carpet, or uneven flooring, which causes him or her to become unbalanced.
- A fall occurs when the walker loses his or her balance. Once someone loses footing and support on any surface, a fall is likely.
Fortunately, fms and service providers can take three simple steps to help minimize the chances of an injury.
First, immediately remove items, such as ice and moisture, which might result in an accident. Second, increase cleaning frequency around major entries during winter months, ensuring that these areas are clean, dry, and safe. Finally, install high performance matting systems.
A high performance matting system typically includes a total of 15′ of scraper, wiper/scraper, and wiper mats that can trap up to 80% of all soil and moisture coming through the front door. Not only is this safer for building users, but it helps keep facilities cleaner and greener during the winter months as well.