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Better Floor Traction Saves Money — and Lives

In a recent interview, Dennis Fetzer, an accident prevention specialist, was asked why more retail business property owners do not invest in safer flooring, even though there is solid evidence that doing so can reduce slip and fall accidents. He said a typical response is, “I do not need to prevent accidents; that is what I carry insurance for.” However, with the current cost of slip and fall accidents totaling more than $80 billion, insurance companies are supporting prevention efforts, such as complying with floor traction standards developed by the American National Standards Institute and the National Floor Safety Institute (ANSI/NFSI).

The organizations have published their recommendations for installing and maintaining surface flooring in public establishments. Building owners have an enormous range of choice in materials, but can look for products certified by the NFSI as slip resistant. Businesses can also have their floor traction tested by a trained auditor, and, if they fail to meet acceptable standards, can upgrade to a more suitable floor system. There are products available engineered to withstand heavy foot traffic and provide good traction, even when wet.

The majority of slip and fall accidents occur on a level walking surface when one of the following conditions is present:

  • Wet surface
  • Loose matting or rugs
  • Build-up of contaminants

Floors get wet because of a spill or weather conditions, or when an employee mops or cleans and fails to post an adequate hazard sign. Industrial mats or rugs must also be purchased, installed and maintained within safety guidelines. Even the best floor can be unsafe if it is not cleaned properly to remove tracked-in dirt and other contaminants that can compromise traction.

Organizations like the NFSI are doing a good job publicizing their findings and offering education and training to reduce the incidence of slip and fall accidents that cause so many serious injuries and fatalities every year. If you have been injured because a property owner neglected to maintain safe conditions, speak with a personal injury attorney about your options for getting compensation.

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