man slips in front of a wet floor sign

Too much moisture on floors can also up the slip factor, whether it’s due to excess cleaning solution, improper dry times or inclement weather. Regardless of the cause, consultants emphasize the importance of using wet floor signs — and using them correctly.

“Typically, people don’t use enough wet floor signs,” says Craddock. “If you have a long hallway, for example, you need a sign at either end and one at every doorway. So if you have a hallway with 30 doors, you need to have 32 signs.”

In addition to posting enough wet floor signs, custodians need to place them in the correct spots.

“Often, you walk into a building and there’s a wet floor sign in the middle of the wet floor,” notes Kendzior. “By the time you see the sign, it’s already too late. Make sure to post signs around the perimeter of the hazard.”

Kendzior also urges facilities to remove the signs once the floor is dry.

“Sadly, so many companies leave the wet floor sign out all day,” he says. “People become immune to that and tend to ignore them.”

A wet floor sign is also beneficial if water is being tracked into the building — as is a good matting program. Griffin suggests swapping mats out several times a day during very wet weather. Walk-off mats should be long enough for a person to walk eight to 10 steps and should also follow traffic patterns to increase safety.

“If you roll out a 15-foot walk-off mat, but traffic goes over to a concierge desk at the left and elevators off to the right, the walk-off mat is never used,” notes Craddock. “So you have to have two mats in a V-shape going in different directions.”

Craddock also cautions facility managers to check mats for potential trip hazards, such as curling at the edges or bunching up on hard surfaces.

“Make sure your mat is good quality,” he says. “It’s best to spend $10 more on a good mat that prevents slips and falls because one slip-and-fall injury could set you back $60,000-plus.”

Most importantly, facility cleaning managers need to train staff and document all cleaning procedures on an ongoing basis to protect their business in the event of a slip-and-fall injury.

“Have a five-minute safety meeting at the start of every shift,” Griffin suggests. “Form a committee to talk with the risk manager and insurance company to identify risks or incidents that have happened in the past. Focus on identifying and preventing those from happening again, because prevention is cheaper than a lawsuit.” 

KASSANDRA KANIA is a freelance writer based in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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Steps To Improving Floor Safety