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New Pig, a supplier of leak, drip and spill containment products, recently conducted a survey of floor safety professionals. Across multiple industries, organizational readiness for common slip, trip and fall hazards were addressed. The “Walk Zone Safety Report” measured how aware organizations are of these issues and their strategies to improve facility safety for employees and customers. Across 369 businesses, New Pig spoke with maintenance, safety, health, risk and facility management professionals in manufacturing and public-facing entities.

The report comes at a time when Bureau of Labor Statistics data indicates that same-level slip and falls lead all workplace injuries. In 2015, workplaces reported 200,000 same-level slip and fall injuries, totaling $11 billion in workers’ compensation and medical costs. Yet, businesses that don’t look beyond these high dollar signs experience further ramifications. These include additional liability costs, productivity losses and lower brand reputation. What did the New Pig report find?

Why Injuries Keep Happening

Yellow slippery when wet signThe biggest contributing factor to same-level slip and fall injuries is overlooked “walk zones”. While nearly all businesses surveyed added floor mats to entryways, they failed to do the same for other risky, spill-prone areas, including kitchens, restrooms and loading docks.

Just under 40 percent consider same-level slip and falls a genuine concern, with most relying on rubber-backed floor mats to address the risk. As a result, slip-prone areas end up uncovered or have a safety solution with potential to curl and shift around. Approximately 42 percent of all companies surveyed experienced at least one same-level slip and fall injury over the past 12 months.

Risk Management

Unfortunately, just over 70 percent of respondents say there is no clear slip and fall plan in place. As a solution, 24 percent outsource their strategy. In an effort to promote floor safety, others place the onus on workers with training, footwear requirements and cleaning protocols.

Of all solutions, mats appeared the most common, but just four percent used a strategic planogram. Instead, 28 percent depend on their floor mat rental company for placement. Also, a sizeable percentage continue to use outdated mats, which wrinkle, bunch up or shift around.

Additionally, just over half are unfamiliar with the updated Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Walking-Working Surfaces rule. In fact, just 29 percent met OSHA’s recommendations.

Where and Why Injuries Happen

About half of all slip and fall injuries happen in the entryway, with rain and snow a primary culprit. Yet, the other 50 percent of these incidents occur in the building, including along customer walkways, near equipment and machines, in kitchens, by loading docks and near water fountains. In 35 percent or fewer cases, a mat is actually added.

As another risk, transition areas – places where dirt, water and other contaminants may be transported – also get ignored in risk management solutions. While 20 percent of injuries happen in these spots, under 30 percent of organizations will add a safety mat.

The survey found spilled liquids were behind most falls, while machinery leaks, drips and wet floors followed.

As this report shows, a slip and fall prevention plan starts with complete and accurate awareness and action with appropriate safety solutions. Not making this strategy a priority can lead to potential on-the-job injuries and workers’ compensation claims. If you are an injured employee, currently contending with an employer who will not pay for damages, get Trantolo & Trantolo involved. To learn more, give us a call today.