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Half of the floors tested for a slip-and-fall study failed to meet safety criteria, suggesting that many fall-prevention programs may overlook the effects of flooring selection and ongoing maintenance on slip resistance, according to a study released Wednesday by CNA Financial Corp.
Specifically the Chicago-based insurer tested surfaces and found that 50% failed to produce “a dynamic coefficient of friction level above the minimum threshold of 0.42” set by the American National Standards Institute, according to a press release.
Researchers with CNA also reviewed slip-and-fall liability claims between Jan. 1, 2010, and Dec. 31, 2016, and found high-frequency but low-severity trends, which it says is consistent with claim experiences in the greater risk control industry.
According to frequency data, retail trade and real estate businesses present the greatest potential for slip and fall accidents, with harmful events occurring most often at these sites: 40% on walking and working surfaces, mainly entryway flooring; 33% on parking lot surfaces; 27% on sidewalks leading to business entrances; and less than 1% on interior office floors.
"Slip and falls can happen anywhere, any time and to anyone, and addressing the slip resistance and maintenance of interior floors to reduce exposures is critical to enhancing floor safety," said Steve Hernandez, senior vice president, risk control for CNA in a press statement. "The CNA data uncovered that slip and fall claims over time occur with more frequency than severity, and continue to pose challenges for businesses. These findings underscore the need for attention to floor safety and regular surface resistance testing to avoid fall accidents and related injuries."
An administrative law judge of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission affirmed a safety citation issued to an automotive hose manufacturer after an employee was seriously injured when his arm was caught in machinery.