Every year, over one million Canadians visit emergency rooms for injuries caused by fall hazards. This costs the economy over six billion dollars annually in medical expenses and even more when you factor in lost time and reduced productivity.
Slips and trips can happen almost anywhere from your lobby to your kitchen to your walkways. With colder weather (plus ice and snow) on the way, it’s especially important to make sure you’re prepared to keep your building’s occupants safe all season long.
We’ve put together this guide to help you identify and prevent slip, trip, and fall hazards:
What Causes a Slip or a Trip?
A slip happens when there’s too little traction or friction between your foot and the ground.
Slips are often caused by:
· Oily, wet surfaces.
· Weather-related hazards.
· Loose rugs or mats.
· Slippery flooring.
Trips take place when your foot unexpectedly hits an object, throwing off your balance.
Proper floor care should include sweeping, mopping, burnishing, and buffing. Remember, a well-maintained and clean floor will offer the most secure footing for guests (especially when it’s wet and snowy outside).
How often you should clean your floors will depend on the needs of your building. If you don’t receive too much foot traffic, cleaning your floors once every few days is typically enough. If your building sees a lot of visitors pass through, it will be important to make sure you clean it more often.
Professional cleaning companies will have the tools designed to clean your floor effectively. These might include mop heads made with quick-absorbing materials to help your floors dry faster (making them safer).
Look After Spills Right Away
If something spills on your floor, you need to pick it up as soon as you can to prevent someone slipping or falling. Consider a day porter or matron for your building so someone is always ready to look after unexpected messes between regular cleanings.
Even if you aren’t able to clean up a spill immediately, always use the right signage to make sure passersby know to avoid potential hazards!
Remove Hazardous Obstacles
To keep highly trafficked areas clear, do not:
String hoses, cords, or cables across hallways.
Leave files, boxes, or briefcases in aisle ways.
Keep drawers open or loose items on the floor.
Proactive measures like these will minimize trip risks and hazards.
Replace Lights that have Burnt Out
One of the most common causes of a fall is reduced visibility from insufficient lighting. You should make sure light bulbs are replaced promptly to provide adequate lighting around the clock.
Keep Floor Mats Clean and Clear
The right matting makes a big difference, particularly during the winter as people drag sloshy snow inside. Not having good, clean mats can quickly turn entranceways into skating rinks – creating serious slip hazards. Mats should always be kept clean and secured, lying flat against the floor.
Taking steps like these will help you keep your building safe and secure throughout the snowy, slippery season ahead!