After the slip coefficient requirements for all floors have been met, facility cleaning managers should look to educate their workers on the causes of slips, trips and falls, and train them to prevent these incidents. They also need to know how to report a slip, trip or fall incident in case one were to occur.

According to Mike Sawchuk, Sawchuk Consulting, St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada, cleaning managers should create a slip, trip and fall risk assessment plan. This should be accompanied by forms that allow management and staff to take down information when incidents occur, add suggestions for improving processing, request changes to cleaning, and a timeline documenting when all of this is being done.

With testing and training completed, it’s now time to make and keep floors safer. The best way to accomplish this is by keeping things dry.

“Moisture on the floor — whether it’s brought in from the exterior, spilled on the floor or is condensation — creates the same problem; it’s a lubricant on the walkway. It’s the most common lubricant — that’s why the standards utilize water in the test,” says Johnson.

Water also becomes a hazard when it comes into contact with dried soap film that is left behind due to overuse of cleaning products coupled with insufficient or absent rinsing after cleaning. Purchasing the correct cleaning products for different floor types and training workers to use them correctly, per manufacturer instructions, reduces the chances of this problem.

During rainy or snowy times, staff must frequently check floors and dry wet areas. Instead of using a traditional mop and bucket, staff should be drying wet floors with towels or a microfiber mop.

Signs indicating a wet floor are another useful tool. However, they must be placed at the right location at an appropriate time.

“Wet floor signs are overused. The majority of the time when they are present, the floor is not wet,” says Kendzior. “Properly used, they should be posted while the spill is being cleaned and dried. Once the floor is dry, remove the sign.”

When signs are needed, make sure they are bright yellow, knee high and visible for 360 degrees. Also be sure to place the signs in advance of the hazard on a surface that’s dry.

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