How Big is the Slip & Fall Problem?
A Dangerous and Costly Problem
- Slips, trips and falls are serious problems to be concerned about. For many, the first slip may also be the last. Most falls are preventable! (NFSI)
- According to the National Safety Council (NSC), slips and falls account for over 1 million emergency room visits each year, or 12% of total falls.
- Slips and falls are the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims and are the leading cause of occupational injury for people aged 55 years and older (NSC).
- According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), floors and flooring materials contribute directly to more than 2 million fall injuries each year.
- 85% of worker’s compensation claims are attributed to employees slipping on slick floors (Industrial Safety & Occupational Health Markets 5th edition).
- Legal and Insurance costs related to slips and falls are estimated at $150 billion annually.
The Law Requires It
Several laws require that walkways shall be slip-resistant:
- 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – Chapter 3: BUILDING BLOCKS
302.1 General. Floor and ground surfaces shall be stable, firm, and slip resistant and shall comply with 302.
- National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 101 Life Safety Code – 220.127.116.11 Slip Resistance. Walking Surfaces in the means of egress shall be slip resistant under foreseeable conditions.
- 2018 International Building Code – 1003.4 Slip-resistant surface. Circulation paths of the means of egress shall have a slip-resistant surface and be securely attached.
How do you know your walkways are in compliance? Test them with the TRACSCAN 2.0. A slip resistant surface is one that, when tested per the NFSI B101.1 or B101.3 walkway safety standards using an NFSI approved tribometer, is Moderate to High Traction.
Tribometry, the science of measuring slip resistance, is a valid methodology able to distinguish between surfaces and provide numbers that help us quantify friction measurements called COF or Coefficient of Friction. COF ranges from 0 (no friction) to 1 (high friction).
The purpose of tribometry is ultimately to aid in the prevention of slip and fall accidents by scientifically measuring surface traction to eliminate, reduce and control hazardous walkway incidents in a scientifically reliable and reproducible way.
In essence, tribometry is used as a means to evaluate and address the slipperiness of a floor surface or floor care program. Are your floors safe? How much slip resistance is needed? The NFSI publishes two COF standards which provide guidance as it relates to slip resistance and pedestrian risk of slips and falls.
Recently published American National Standard A1264.2-2022 by the American Society of Safety Professionals in conjunction with ANSI titled, “Reducing Slip Missteps on Walking-Working Surfaces” states the following pertaining to tribometer testing:
Surface friction testing shall be performed with a tribometer meeting the verification requirements of the supplier, and operated in accordance with a standardized or supplier-recommended test procedure.
5.1.1 Dry Surfaces. Testing of dry surfaces shall be performed with a tribometer and methodology described by the tribometer supplier as suitable for measuring and determining dry available friction.
5.1.2 Wet or Contaminated Surfaces. Testing of wet or contaminated surfaces shall be performed with a tribometer and method described by the tribometer supplier as suitable for measuring and determining the available friction of the surface under such conditions.