The recent “Slip and Fall Study Report” by CNA, a worldwide provider of insurance solutions and risk management services for businesses and professionals, revealed that tested floors in 50% of the surveyed sites failed to produce a dynamic coefficient of friction (DCOF) level above the minimum threshold of 0.42 (American National Standards Institute). Ultimately, these findings suggest that the fall prevention programs that many businesses and facilities have in place may overlook the effects of flooring selection and ongoing maintenance on slip resistance.
“Slip and falls can happen anywhere, any time and to anyone, and addressing the slip resistance and maintenance of interior floors to reduce exposures is critical to enhancing floor safety,” said Steve Hernandez, senior vice president, Risk Control with CNA Commercial. “The CNA data uncovered that slip and fall claims over time occur with more frequency than severity, and continue to pose challenges for businesses. These findings underscore the need for attention to floor safety and regular surface resistance testing to avoid fall accidents and related injuries.”
CNA’s review of slip and fall liability claims occurring from January 1, 2010, to December 31, 2016, found high-frequency but low-severity trends, which is consistent with claim experiences in the greater risk control industry. According to frequency data, retail trade and real estate businesses present the greatest potential for slip and fall accidents, with harmful events occurring most often at these sites:
- 40% on walking/working surfaces, mainly entry flooring
- 33% on parking lot surfaces
- 27% on sidewalks leading to business entrances
- Less than 1% on interior office floors
In an effort to help businesses apply safety measures, CNA identifies four principles of floor safety:
- Choose flooring that is slip resistant; consider its properties and the space and environment.
- Test floor for their resistance under wet conditions; use a tribometer to measure DCOF levels.
- Use cleaning agents and methods that are compatible with the floor type, and apply them as directed by the manufacturers.
- Promote awareness of risk conditions in the physical environment, along with those that are specific to the flooring.
“Given the focus on floor safety, it’s important for businesses to revisit prevention efforts, in order to guarantee that floors and walkways are safe through the application of safety standards,” said Shari Falkenburg, assistant vice president, Risk Control with CNA Commercial. “By conducting routine slip resistance testing, businesses can be better prepared to comply with flooring manufacturers’ specifications, and on how to address the level of contaminants on walkway surfaces.”
Download the “Slip and Fall Study Report” from the CNA website (registration required).