The primary objective of any owner or supervisor is to minimize risks and maximize efficiency in the workplace. They accomplish this by eliminating possible health and safety breaches and maintaining a positive work environment for employees and customers that is clean, organized, and free of hazards.
If more corporations understood the importance of cleanliness and safety in the workplace and were committed to implementing efficient floor safety programs, there would be less “slip and fall” or personal injury cases and less worker’s compensation cases. Additionally, companies could significantly improve their bottom line, corporate image, and may even receive accolades for being a safe-work environment.
The Price of Safety
Workplace mishaps resulting from dangerous working conditions have a negative effect on the company’s reputation and revenue. For instance, companies who are in violation of work codes have to pay sanctions and may have to compensate workers or customers. To recoup those costs, these same companies increase their prices and customers end up paying more for services or goods. In addition, work-related injuries reduce overall productivity and lower the morale of employees. They also anger customers who have to pay more for the same quality of service or products. With this in mind, it is important that you take preventive action to prevent falls whenever possible. If you don’t, injuries will result and will negatively impact the business owners, employees, and customers.
Still not persuaded? Consider these facts:
- Fatalities originating from falls occur among both men and women. However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that women tend to experience more slip and fall incidents.
- According to BLS, almost 5% of women and 11% of men faced job-related fatalities.
- The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) states that floor accidents and flooring materials are responsible for more than 2 million injuries every year.
- Compensation and medical costs associated with employee slip-and-fall accidents are approximately $70 billion annually, according to National Safety Council Injury Facts, 2003 Edition.
- According to the National Floor Safety Institute (NSFI) injuries caused by falls account for over 8 million visits to the emergency room every year. It is the leading cause of visits at 21.3% out of total incidents. Slips and falls lead to over 1 million visits to the emergency room.
- The NSFI also claims that supermarkets and retail stores incur an annual expenditure upward of $450 million to counter slip and fall claims.
Now that you have a firmer understanding of the negative impacts of falls, you may be wondering what steps can be taken to counter such risks of workplace trips, slips and falls. Here are some strategies you can implement today!
Conduct a Walkway and Floor Audit
Evaluate walking surfaces, including parking lots and sidewalks so you can identify any risks involved. This analysis will offer you a baseline for consultation during future audits. Lighting levels and housekeeping efforts must be carefully scrutinized too. NSFI has a list of certified walkway auditors who are available in every zip code.
Organize Work Areas to Reduce Risks
NSFI states that more than half of slip, fall, or trip incidents are caused due to uneven and problematic walking surface. Wet floors, ice, loose and wrinkled carpets, and cables on walkways are identified as the main culprits. So, it’s important to organize, clean, and repair the area to avoid cluttering and accidents.
Train Employees on Fall Prevention
Train employees and make them aware of how important floor safety is. Implementing footwear policies or making relevant changes will bear only temporary fruit if employees are not aware of the risks involved.
Create Maintenance Procedures
It is vital to establish clear cleaning and maintenance procedures to ensure that damaged floors are repaired, items remain off floors, signage is available to warn of slippery surfaces, etc. Here are some additional things that your maintenance department can do:
- Clean floors and other areas frequently so they are clear of residue.
- Use the correct tools, equipment, and cleaning products.
- Properly label areas that have been recently mopped or serviced.
- Replace damaged areas.
- Do not overly saturate floors with water to avoid slipping hazards.
According to flooring experts, proper maintenance and cleaning is the best and most impactful strategy that can be adopted to counter and reduce the risk of falls and other accidents. Therefore, companies must provide adequate floor safety programs and be willing to implement them at all times. One company that specializes in upholding high ethical and safety standards while providing top-notch commercial cleaning services is A & S Total Cleaning Service. This organization has been in business since 1989 and offers a wide range of cleaning and marble floor restoration services while following strict safety protocols.