To some people a slip or fall may seem like a minor accident but, in fact, it is one of the leading causes of on-the-job injuries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, falls at work cause over 300,000 injuries per year. In the food service industry alone, slips and falls are the leading cause of injuries associated with lost time from work.
Increasing the traction on floor surfaces is the best way to prevent slips and falls. Fortunately there are simple ways for employers to do this in the workplace.
For example, concrete floors cause numerous and sometimes serious slips and falls. Concrete is a porous substance and can absorb oils and other liquids, making it slick. Concrete floors can, however, be treated with commercial compounds to cure and seal the concrete to prevent it from becoming slick. If the concrete has already been poured, it can be coated with paints that contain gritty or abrasive materials to reduce the slipperiness of the concrete.
Another example of slippery floors are those where metal plates are used as walking surfaces, such as in certain areas of industrial plants or for overhead balconies and catwalks. Flat metal plates are very slippery when wet and can result not only in a serious slip, but also a fall off of the raised platforms or walkways.
To minimize this hazard, grooves can be cut in the metal floors. Moreover, old metal stairs can be replaced by metal stairs with grates and/or holes to let the liquids drain through. On tile, linoleum, or other slick surfaces, especially in kitchens or food service areas, rubber mats can substantially reduce the risks of falls and make standing easier for the employees.
In Texas, the employer has an absolute duty to provide his employees with a reasonably safe workplace. In the past, simple slips and falls on the job were viewed as unavoidable. Today, with all the information available on floor safety, this hazard can almost be eliminated.