According to OSHA, slips, trips and falls form a majority of accidents in businesses and industries – resulting in nearly 15 percent of deaths, which only follows motor vehicle accidents causing fatalities. Floor maintenance is vital if you’re looking to prevent slips, trips, and falls in your business premises. You probably need to clean your floors on a regular basis and you’ve likely been doing it in the same manner as when you first moved into your office. However, there’s a good chance that your methods of cleaning and maintenance are incorrect, which could lead to low traction and enhanced fall risks. Re-looking at your floor maintenance procedures will help to keep your floors slip resistant by reducing wear and tear. OSHA has also laid down certain standards and guidelines for walking surfaces in permanent offices and business premises.
What Leads To Falls At Work?
Slips, trips, and falls are typically caused by a lack of traction between shoes and the floor surface. But they can also be caused by poor cleaning methods. Here are some reasons why slips, trips and falls occur:
- Fresh floor wax from polishing.
- Soap water that hasn’t been dried from the cleaning process.
- Dirt and dust reducing floor and shoe traction.
- Wet areas that haven’t been wiped up for extended periods.
- Poor lighting in transition areas.
- Loose floorboards.
- Missing floor tiles and loose carpets.
- Improper cleaning methods that reduce slip resistance.
Maintenance staff can remedy most of these issues and ensure that employees and visitors are safe.
Reviewing Your Floor Maintenance Procedures
You can review your floor maintenance procedures using a variety of methods. They are designed to infuse added safety to your business — reducing your risks of lawsuits.
Undertake An Audit Of All Your Floor Surfaces
One of the best ways to review the safety of your floors is to get their coefficient of friction (CoF) tested. A good CoF as a measure of slip resistance is 0.5 based on several studies from the University of Michigan. Anything drastically different from that figure could indicate that your floors are slip and fall hazards for people using them. If your floor CoF is different from the initial specifications of the manufacturer, then it could mean that natural wear and tear or poor maintenance has resulted in the drastic change.
Review Your Floor Cleaners
When choosing cleaners, make sure you find professionals who follow proper cleaning practices designed for the type of floor surface you have in your office. Your cleaners must seek ways to protect your surface by removing any unsafe films or slip-causing materials from building up over time. Taking the time to review the cleaning methods followed by the cleaners will ensure that you’re taking all precautions to protect your floor surface for as long as possible.
Make Sure The Cleaning Tools Are Clean And Appropriate
The wrong cleaning tools will be ineffective when it comes to cleaning floors. For instance, dirty mops will leave layers of dirt back on the floors, which will render the cleaning job ineffective. Using dirty cleaning tools is more common than you think and they can potentially cause your floors to become hazardous. When floors need cleaning, using clean water and clean tools ensures that there is no buildup of dirt and grime over time.
Make Sure You Follow Scheduled Cleaning Procedures
It’s often easy to overlook cleaning procedures, especially when your floors appear clean. But the fact is that dirt can build up without you realizing it. Make sure you follow the scheduled cleaning and maintenance procedures as diligently as possible to reduce the hazards of people slipping, tripping and falling on your floors.
Proper maintenance and cleaning is key to minimizing the risks of slips and falls. Eventually, this helps to reduce the loss of work time, protect life and minimize injuries caused. You’ll also protect your business or company from workers’ compensation claims by following the right cleaning procedures and addressing any hazards that may arise with your floor surfaces.