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Top 10 Slip and Fall Risk Factors You Should Know


The first step to reducing slip and fall accidents is identifying their causes!  Here’s a list of the top ten most common causes of slip and fall accidents in commercial buildings that you should know:

  1. Flooring surface type.  Some types of flooring surfaces have coefficients of friction that vary immensely under different conditions!  Various types of tile flooring can be nice and grippy when dry, but as soon as it’s wet it can become slicker than ice!  Conversely, rubber flooring typically becomes more grippy when wet, making it a great choice for ice rinks.  It’s important to actually test out the flooring in your building under different conditions so you can know how your specific floor behaves in different weather.
  2. Foreign substances.  Ice, sand, grease, water, dirt, and even cleaner residue can make a floor incredibly slippery.
  3. Floor surface conditions. Changes in elevation – even subtle ones – are a major cause of trips.  Watch out for raised or recessed edges (especially on concrete sidewalk slabs), loose carpeting or carpet tile edges, or flopped and wrinkled matting.
  4. Surface type changes.  The change in friction between flooring surface types can be sudden and unexpected – like the transition between a grippy carpet to a slippery tile.
  5. Level changes.  Small, but significant, changes in elevation can cause falls.  Unexpected slopes of three steps or less often go unnoticed when people are walking and talking, and can cause trips.
  6. Obstructions.  Especially dangerous at trade shows and conventions, temporary foreign objects can be a real hazard.  Watch out for extension cords, water hoses,  and computer / AV cabling on the floor!
  7. Poor visiblity.  Areas with low light, or areas in shadow can cause tripping hazards to go unseen.  Walk your property at different times of day and watch for potential problems hiding in areas of deep shadow, or masked by harsh glare or bright lights.
  8. Human factors.  Not everybody is able-bodied and agile!  Different physical capabilities, different shoe types, and even different heights can introduce different trip hazards.
  9. Stairs.  Short staircases (one or two steps) pose a disproportionately high level of hazard as they’re often overlooked by people in a hurry. Falls down staircases of more than three steps produce the most serious injuries.
  10. Environmental distractions.  Loud noises, changing or strobe lighting, or other unusual distractions in an environment can cause trips and falls.

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