Woman slips next to wet floor sign

Surprisingly, or perhaps not, stairs, ramps, landings, and floors represent the leading cause of emergency room visits — and top the list of most dangerous products, according to recent data released by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS). What is also surprising is that falls affected all age groups, making slips, trips and falls a national health crisis. 

Such a crisis begs the question; why are floors so dangerous and how do they become so slippery? First, it’s important to understand that the flooring industry does not uniformly test or label their product’s slip resistance. This often leads to facility consumers unknowingly making poor and incorrect choices as to what type of floor is appropriate for their specific location.  

Secondly, flooring manufacturers rarely inform their customers as to how to properly clean their products. This leaves the consumer to rely on the chemical cleaning industry for guidance, but these chemical manufacturers don’t always test or label their products effect on slip resistance, either. 

Many floor cleaning products leave behind a slippery film, which directly contributes to making floors slick. In 2006, the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) studied the top-20 household floor cleaners and found that many of them actually made floors more slippery than if they hadn’t been used at all. Since the chemistry of household floor cleaners is similar to that of commercial floor cleaners, it is fair to assume that that the floor cleaners being used in facilities may also be leaving a slippery film behind. 

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Products To Measure Slip Resistance, Traction