The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) B101 committee on Slip, Trip and Fall Prevention has released the nation's first-ever floor safety standard designed to prevent pedestrian slips and falls. The ANSI B101.1 standard provides cleaning professionals, property owners, insurers and flooring manufacturers with a tool by which they can measure the risk of a slip and fall and, in-turn, prevent such accidents from occurring.

Under the new ANSI B101.1 standard, the slip-resistance of a walkway can be measured and categorized into one of three "Traction" ranges: High Traction, Moderate Traction or Low Traction. Floors categorized as High Traction present a low risk of a slip and fall while Moderate Traction and Low Traction floors present an elevated risk. High Traction floors have been clinically proven to reduce slip-and-fall claims by as much as 90 percent, according to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI).

"The goal of the standard is to reduce the nation's growing number of slip-and-fall related injuries by increasing the traction of walkways," said Russell Kendzior, secretary of the ANSI B101 committee and founder of NFSI, in a news release.

Falls are the leading cause of emergency room visits in the United States, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Individuals over the age of 60 are the most likely victims of a fall. The number of slip-and-fall accidents is expected to rise as baby-boomers age. In fact, the number of Americans age 60-plus will double during the next decade.

Distributors are encouraged to have their customers test the floors at their facilities to determine into which Traction range the floors fall. Once identified, the slip-resistance of Moderate and Low Traction floors can often be elevated into the High Traction range through improved floor maintenance.