Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

Preparation, right tools can prevent accidents

September 19, 2010

Can you name two types of businesses for which slip-trip-and-fall accidents do not pose a serious liability threat? It’s possible, but not easy.

Falls are the leading cause of emergency room visits, and as the average cost per claim now exceeds $100,000, no facility can afford to be in a reactive position.

Being prepared means taking a serious look at your facility to identify potential hazard sources and likely slip-and-fall scenarios.

If you have a wet-mopping operation, for example, you can expect to encounter slip-and-fall conditions as a daily part of your work.

Your equipment should include folding safety signs and mobile barricades designed to collapse and be positioned near likely hazard sites for rapid deployment.

The key factor in preventing falls is short response time — identifying the hazard, and taking rapid action to alert pedestrians, and if need be, barricading to inhibit access to the hazard.

Here are some ways to reduce exposure to slip-and-fall liability claims:

  • Be aware of industry specific safety facts.
  • Implement and use a pedestrian safety system.
  • Use audit tools to help calculate safety items and placements.
  • Keep basic records and inspection logs of your pedestrian safety system.
  • Train employees on proper pedestrian safety practices and maintain records of employee safety training.
  • If incidents occur, investigate immediately and record findings.

There are also variations on the traditional wet-floor sign that have enabled dramatic reductions in spill response times.

Spill systems alert customers and employees to a hazard, and dispense highly absorbent pads to be placed onto the spill.

The result is a very effective and immediate response to the infamous “clean up in aisle six” announcement, containing and safeguarding the hazard while awaiting the arrival of mop and bucket.

There are other instances when simply alerting pedestrians of a potential hazard is not sufficient.

For unanticipated problems, such as an automatic door malfunction, to painting and other types of scheduled maintenance, accident prevention can require erection of a barrier.

Safety cone systems feature a flashing light, a motion-triggered programmable multi-lingual audio warning, and can be configured with safety chains to form a barricade.

Folding mobile barriers and fences can also help ensure you have taken the required steps to keep your facility and business safe.

Joe DeZarn is director of marketing communications for Rubbermaid Commercial Products. Mark Hoyle is a product manager for Rubbermaid Commercial Products.