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    Winter-2016  


Slip-And-Fall Accidents Can Be The Bane Of Any Business

Whether the business is a restaurant, hardware store or manufacturing facility, no business is exempt from risks of a slip-and-fall accident.

Moreover, even one accident can cause workman compensation rate to rise significantly, sometimes impeding growth by reducing funds available for expansion.

“It’s surprising how frequently small businesses don’t take precautions against slip and fall accidents and are forced to pay high workers’ compensation premiums,” said Steve Spencer, Facilities Specialist, State Farm Insurance. “Since a safe floor program is proactive rather than reactive, it can be one of the most cost-effective and consistent ways to prevent employee accidents.” 

John Engel is Senior Marketing Manager for Cintas argues “to fully protect against costly slip-and-fall accidents and keep workers’ compensation premiums low, consider a safe floor program that removes potential hazards in the workplace.”

A safe floor program can also help by protecting against potential employee claims that the employer was negligent in providing a safe workplace. 

Through a program that deep cleans, protects and maintains flooring, small business owners can ensure workers stay safe and insurance costs remain low.

Engle suggests that safe floor program should include the following steps:

Deep clean: Since residue can accumulate on flooring over time, deep cleaning is a critical first step in a safe floor program to ensure accident-causing contaminants are removed. Make sure that deep cleaning methods combine powerful steam, agitation, chemicals and dry time to provide the highest levels of accident-protection on flooring. Since small businesses often have limited resources, partnering with a deep cleaning provider can eliminate the need to purchase costly equipment and take employee time away from customer needs. 

In addition to making floors look better, deep cleaning helps improve hard surface traction making them safer for use.  Deep cleaning removes surface dirt, grease and grime caused by foot traffic and rejuvenates the naturally rough tile surface.  For tile surfaces like quarry tile in a kitchen or porcelain tile in a lobby, select a service certified by the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) as “high traction” to help guarantee superior levels of traction and cleanliness.

Protect: To preserve high levels of traction and cleanliness achieved through deep cleanings, develop a program to protect floors. Matting improves worker safety by capturing liquids and debris and preventing their spread around the facility. Place matting at all entrances, walkways and other areas that contaminants might build up during peak business periods.

Limit tracking of interior soil by placing matting in critical locations such as employee break rooms or in transitional walkways, such as those leading from the kitchen to dining areas in restaurants or from work zones to office areas. This can be the last line of defense to help prevent common materials such as grease, oil or other organic matter from building up throughout guest areas, thereby improving image and limiting hazards. Transitional mats can also be effective in areas leading into restrooms—a frequent site of water buildup.

Select mats that are certified “High Traction” by the NFSI to reduce the risk of slips, trips and falls. The NFSI tests mats in laboratory and “real world” settings to ensure mats meet the highest safety standards.

While matting is an effective way to prevent accidents, cleanliness is also key to ensuring captured contaminants don’t transfer back onto footwear, an occurrence known as the “inkpad” effect.  Partner with a rental matting laundry service provider to ensure matting stays clean and effective in reducing slip-and-fall accidents.

Maintain: While methods that deep clean and protect floors are critical aspects of a safe floor program, daily techniques that maintain floors will be integral to improve worker safety. Equip staff with easy-to-use tools that can help them quickly remove any contaminants from flooring such as microfiber mops and dual-chamber mop buckets. When possible, dedicate one mop to each area or zone within the business. This helps further reduce the chance for cross contamination. And while it might seem like common sense, also make sure tools are sanitized before any cleaning is completed. A dirty mop fails to remove dirt and increases the risk of spreading contaminants that can cause accidents in other areas.

Depending on the business, consider more intensive daily cleaning tools such as deck brushes or auto-scrubbers, as they can help quickly remove common accident-causing contaminants. Provide training for employees and make sure they understand the importance of the safe floor program.

 While safe floor programs take time and effort, the benefits of reducing accidents and improving worker safety will be seen through infrequent workers’ compensation claims and lower premiums.

Additionally, safe floor programs offer peace of mind that will accompany small business owners when they know employees—and the business—are protected.

To reduce time associated with implementing safe floor programs, small business owners should consider partnering with a service provider that can develop a custom program based on the needs of the business.

By implementing effective safe floor programs that deep clean, protect and maintain flooring, small business owners will display their dedication to safety and improve profitability for the long-term.

John Engel is Senior Marketing Manager for Cintas. For more information, please visit http://www.cintas.com/FacilityServices.

 


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