As funny as slipping and falling may seem, it is really far from comical. Especially if this fall happens in a company and you are its owner.
Slipping incidents can cost owners of companies millions every year in lost production and other costs and account for over half of all reported injuries to members of the public.
This clearly indicates that management of wet areas in your company’s building is a very important part of your overall management efforts.
Alsco is proud to be a part of the solution, with a wide selection of water absorbent floor mats, designed to be slip resistant and create safe areas to walk on.
Alsco mats are suitable for any part of the building, whether it is a lobby, a hall or a washroom.
The Core Of The Problem
Frankly, it is very hard to find statistics that are related specifically to the “washroom incidents”, but there is a good deal of records about accidental falls, which fits slips and trips into its category. Bureau of Epidemiology (Ministry of Public Health) summarized a report, reporting about injuries got by accidentally falling. Trips and slips represented 22% of accidental injuries among laborers 2005-2010, according to National Injury Surveillance System, Thailand.
These accidental injuries continued to happen, and worldwide workplaces registered various “falls on the same level” (which includes slips and trips), or a percentage of around 10% of the total number of work-related injuries and illnesses over the 12-month period.
In the UK, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that the vast majority of about 1,300 registered incidents of slips and trips in the food and drinks industry (pubs and restaurants etc) are accounted for by slips (80%), and of them 90% were caused by wet floors.
Meanwhile, the US reports 540,000 serious slip and fall injuries in the workplace on average each year, with as many as 460 workplace fatalities directly related to slips on wet floors.
The importance of these problems at a workplace is crystal clear, but there is no reason for this threat to remain so high. Appropriately managing wet areas in your workplace is not at all a complicated project, and there are several simple steps that can be followed to considerably reduce the risk of slipping and falling on the wet floor, in the kitchen, the washroom or anywhere else.
Areas To Be Addressed
Slips and trips are always a risk, even without wet floors. Anyone can trip over a dog-eared carpet corner and get injured in the fall. Statistics fail to identify where are the exact locations where slips and trips occur, but common knowledge tells us they are confined to 6 main areas:
- lobbies and waiting rooms, again where water from outdoors can be allowed to drip
- washrooms, where splashing around sinks, overflowing toilets and leaking pipes can lead to wet areas
- kitchens, where water, grease, oil and moist ingredients can fall to the ground. Also refrigerators and other temperature-controlled food storage units might leak.
- warehouses and workshops where machinery oils, detergents and other liquid chemicals might spill.
- front and rear entrances, where rainwater is carried in on wet shoes, clothes and umbrellas,
- canteens, where spills can occur during break and lunchtime. Also, cisterns dispensing hot or cold drinks, and refrigerated display units may leak.
Any areas with a normally smooth surface such a marble floors or ceramic tiled floors, are very easy to maintain and clean, but these surfaces represent the main source of the danger should there be spillage at all.
Prevent Accidents With These Actions
As with all health and safety issues, there are always various steps you can take to counter the likelihood of there even being an accident. As a matter of fact, managing wet floors at entrances, lobbies an washrooms is probably the best of all the safety-related tasks in any working environment.
We have made you a shortlist of the top 5 tips for managing wet areas anywhere at a workplace and in that way protecting staff and visitors from the threat of slipping and suffering an injury – or worse.
Tip 1 – Preventing Access To Wet Areas
The first step you should make is to block the area, that is, to preventing anyone entering the areas where there are wet surfaces. This is always important, even when there are several people in the area, but especially if the wet areas are with frequent traffic like those in medium to large offices or where customers might visit too.
There is a variety of options available for you to secure these areas, such as portable plastic barriers that can be hooked together to surround the danger zone. These can also have retractable canvas belts, which are ideal for blocking off large spillages, or expandable barriers with scissors-action plastic slats, which are perfect from cordoning off smaller areas.
Tip 2 – Spaces Should Be Marked Properly
It is very important to mark the wet areas. Putting a “Caution – Wet Floor” sign should be the the first thing you do. Also, make sure you place it at the right spot. This sign’s purpose is to warn people before they step onto a wet surface.
This sign should be clearly visible and should be placed to stand in the way, so people would notice it.
Removable signs can be used for spillages and freshly cleaned floors. However, there are areas in the workplace that are constantly wet, and in these cases you should consider marking them with wall signs. Areas such as toilets and washrooms and any other areas where water condenses on the windows and ceilings and drops on the floor, should all have wall signs.
Another good idea is to make it a companies policy to report on any spillages in the workplace. This way, cleaning staff will always be aware of spillages and wet floors, and will be able to prevent unwanted accidents.
Tip 3 – Always Be Aware
We have already mentioned that spillages should be clearly marked, and not kept a secret. Another very important thing is to make sure that everyone is aware of of the risks at all times. After all, vigilance is an essential tool when it comes to staying safe and keeping standards high.
So, consider putting up posters in areas to promote awareness of the risks, for example on corridors, in the canteen, and, of course, in the workplace office itself. You will see that there are plenty of signs to download for this particular purpose. The only thing to do is make sure that they are big enough and can be easily seen, which means they should not be a small A4-sized print and hidden behind or an open boardroom door.
Tip 4 – Quick Actions When Needed
As already said in the first tip it is important that the cleaning staff takes immediate actions in order to prevent accidents from happening. Because of this the equipment necessary should always be kept close at hand.
Accomplish this by placing cleaning closets at strategic places around the building and making sure these closets are always properly stocked with necessary equipment. Cloths for absorbing liquids, mops and buckets – these are just some of the essential tools for any quick spillage cleaning action.
Cleaning closets don’t have to be big – if you organize them properly, everything will fit comfortably, maybe even leaving you with enough space to store other necessary things such as Wet Floor signs.
In order to make sure closets are properly stocked, you need to have a person who will perform regular checks.
Tip 5 – Choose The Right Mats And Make The Right Cleaning Schedule
We have already identified toilets as areas that are always critical because here spillage can occur at any time. Even though keeping them spillage free should be a priority, there are still ways to prevent risks of dangerous falls before dangers even occur.
For example, Floor Mats are an ideal solution for areas which are slippery all the time. The new technology is what makes these mats able to soak up a lot of liquid and still provide a safe surface.
Alongside materials, floor mat design is also important, because it prevents the mat from sliding on the wet floor.
It should be wise to put a mat on every permanently or frequently wet surface. At Alsco, we provide a variety of floor mats specifically designed to handle wet areas and reduce the risk of slipping. Different work areas demand different floor mats. For example, there are thick mats that let liquid and debris to fall through while keeping workers above the spillage and allowing them to work on. These are popular in workshops and kitchens, but can also be equally effective in washrooms around sink areas.
For more on Alsco Mats, make sure to check out our online brochure.
Secondly, apart from reacting on time, it is also important to set a fix cleaning schedule which will keep the workers safe and the building clean.
The morning is the best time for the general cleaning to take place. Be it before everyone comes in or after everyone has left. The first is more desirable (cleaning staff will not like it if they have to stay at work for such a long time), even though it requires some serious planning. If your employees come to work at, say, nine o’clock, it is wise to do the cleaning at least one or two hours earlier.
Timely cleaning will ensure that there are no wet areas left when workers arrive, which helps with general safety at work and makes cleaning itself more efficient, since dirty shoes can make quite a mess on a wet floor.
Alsco Mats Solving Your Problems
Throughout the years, Alsco has became a trusted name in the textile rental industry because it serves a variety of industrial services. When it comes to managing wet floors in kitchens, washrooms, corridor or lobbies, Alsco Mats provide floorcare solutions for every situation.
Alsco provides a complete mat rental service which is a great deal, because our clients avoid the often high costs related to purchases. Rental service includes maintaining and replacing floor mats in the workplace, with weekly rates starting from less than a $1 a day.
Key benefits of our mat rental services are: Complete managed service, Tax deductible advantages, clean floors and prevention of floor damages, no capital outlay and a clean image to your staff and customers.
If you would like to find out more about how Alsco Mats can contribute to your workplace in a affordable and reliable way, please visit our website. You can also check out our range of floor mats on our brochure. Last but not the least, if you would like to speak to someone from our experienced team, you can fill out our online enquiry form, or call us at +6627553380.