On an annual basis, about 95 million workdays are lost due to slips and falls, and the statistics for workplace falls are rising. A slippery or unclean floor can be one of the biggest hazards for accidents in the workplace.

According to a white paper from Scot Yount Research (SYR), falls in the workplace cause physical and emotional pain for the victims and financial burdens for the business where the person works. SYR asserts that those statistics can be lowered if employers have better safety procedures, better cleaning equipment and better cleaning training for their employees.

About nine out of every 10 falls happen when a person steps onto a wet surface. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) said the causes of a majority of slips and falls range from walkways that are contaminated, oily or wet; loose rugs or mats on the floor; spills of various materials that cause one to slip or fall; employees who are not wearing the right type of shoes/boots; weather and poorly trained employees.

These falls in the workplace cause sprains, broken bones, head injuries, and sometimes even death. For some individuals it means weeks of physical rehabilitation. For most individuals it means some lost time at work.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the workers’ compensation costs related to falls hits $70 billion on an annual basis. Insurance companies pass their costs on to the workforce and employers. The average fall where injury occurs is followed by eight days of not working, which is two days longer than injuries due to other causes. Thirty percent of falls that happen on a flat surface result in 21 days of workdays lost.

According to Liberty Mutual, between 1998 and 2005, falls in the workplace rose by 25.6 percent. During that same timeframe, injuries from other work-related accidents had dropped. It seems obvious to the cleaning industry that companies across the U.S. need to make it a priority to enact better cleaning procedures and upgrade to better cleaning products that help ensure safety.

For more information, download this white paper here.