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Slips and Falls Prevention – Wet Surfaces

According to GuideOne Insurance, slips and falls are the number one cause of injuries at organizations, as well as liability losses. What’s more, organizations are frequently sued by people who are injured on the premises. So, instead of keeping your fingers crossed that an injury will not occur, organizations are advised to be proactive in preventing slips and falls.

Wet surfaces, whether they’re inside or outside the facility, can pose a severe slip and fall hazard. To be proactive in preventing slips and falls from occurring on wet surfaces, appropriate policies and procedures should be developed to address various wet surface exposures, including spills, irrigation systems, inclement weather and many other sources.

Interior

  • Employees and volunteers should be trained to identify wet conditions and clean up spills immediately.
  • Keep equipment and supplies available to deal with the wet conditions, including the following:
    • An adequate number and placement of mops and buckets.
    • Warning cones or signs that can be used to warn people of wet surfaces, slippery, or unsafe areas.
    • An adequate number of floor mats to place at entrances and other areas where wet conditions may exist.

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Examples of the appropriate supplies that should be available for controlling wet conditions, including a mop and bucket, caution signs or cones to be placed in visible locations to warn of the potential slip and fall hazards from the wets conditions, and floor mats for entrances to remove moisture.

Exterior

Wet Sidewalk
This photo shows the effects of a downspout discharging water onto the sidewalk. This creates an unnecessary wet surface and has badly deteriorated the walking surface.

  • Grading of land should be away from the building to allow for adequate drainage.
  • Drainage for storm water run-off should be adequate, and blocked drains and gutters should be kept clear.
  • Gutter downspouts should not drain onto walkways.
  • Condensation from air conditioners should not accumulate on walkway areas.
  • Growth of moss on walkways also can be present on shady walkway areas where drainage is not adequate. This moss should be eliminated.
  • Excess water from lawn sprinklers also can cause pooling o f water on walkways. Test the spray pattern of the sprinklers to ensure that they do not cover the walking surface and make adjustments as needed.

Protecting your organization against slips and falls from wet surfaces should be a priority for officials. It would be frustrating to have someone become seriously injured from a slip and fall that could have been prevented. Don’t wait another day to implement a policy on handling wet surfaces and to properly train your employees and/or volunteers on any new responsibilities.  

© 2019 The GuideOne Center for Risk Management, LLC. All rights reserved.This material is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to give specific legal or risk management advice, nor are any suggested checklists or action plans intended to include or address all possible risk management exposures or solutions. You are encouraged to retain your own expert consultants and legal advisors in order to develop a risk management plan specific to your own activities.