Incidents involving floors lead to more than 7 million emergency room visits and 36,000 deaths each year, with most injuries and deaths due to a slip, or trip and fall, according to U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) data. Bathtubs and shower structures are number four on the list of dangerous products.
“Far too many lives are lost due to accidental slips and falls,” says Russ Kendzior, Founder and President of the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI), “and even most troubling is that most falls can be easily prevented.”
Hotels are particularly impacted by slips and falls, which are the leading cause of guest injuries. The most likely place for a slip and fall event is guest rooms, which often have highly polished stone or ceramic tiled floors installed adjacent to bathtub or shower units which become wet under normal use. The problem is further exacerbated by the use of soaps, shampoos, bath oils, etc., which when combined with water make for a deadly combination.
Hotel incident reporting data reveals that many guest room slip and fall claims involved injury to the back of the head. These injuries occur when the person slips and falls backwards, striking the back of their head on a hard object like that of the rim of the bathtub, the edge of the toilet, or top edge of the vanity. Head injuries are very serious and can result in a concussion, a brain bleed, or even death. Rarely are such injuries witnessed: Unless there is another occupant in the room to witness the fall and call for immediate medical treatment, an injured person may lose consciousness and cannot call for help, which can lead to death.
Surprisingly, there are no slip resistance standards or safety requirements that the bathtub industry follows as it relates to a minimum level of slip resistance. However, the NFSI B101 standards committee on slip and fall prevention is currently developing a wet barefoot safety standard which will establish the criteria for bathtub and shower safety. The NFSI recommends that hotel owners safety treat their tubs and showers annually and to use NFSI Certified High-Traction floors and floor cleaners which have been clinically proven to reduce up to 90% of slip and fall claims.