Slips and falls occur in all workplaces and can result from a variety of everyday hazards. Food debris, wet floors, general wear of the floor's surface, presence of grease, water, oils, or any combination of these and other hazards can all lead to a slip and fall.
Properly maintaining your floors is an important way to minimize the risk of slips and falls. Incorporate these steps into your maintenance program to help keep employees, customers, and visitors safe:
- Identify the specific contaminants, such as type of grease, oil (i.e., animal, vegetable, or petroleum oils), sand, or dirt. Select a cleaner/chemical that effectively breaks each down.
- Establish a written floor cleaning protocol for removing contaminants. Include the cleaner manufacturer’s recommendations as well as instruction for maintenance crews. For each contaminant include details such as concentration of cleaner in water, water temperature, how long to apply the cleaner, rinse recommendations, etc.
- Provide appropriate tools to clean the floor (e.g., mops, buckets, deck brushes, and squeegees). Designate tools for specific areas to avoid cross-contamination. For example, mops used in areas with grease should not be used in nongreasy areas.
- Implement a floor-cleaning schedule that is consistently followed. For each area, identify the employee responsible and the time(s) of day cleaning is performed.
- Establish a training program for personnel responsible for inspection, maintenance, and cleaning.
- Define and inform employees of cleansing requirements, cleaning procedures, safe handling and disposing of chemicals and solutions, emergency conditions and operations, and record keeping or reporting repairs to the facilities or maintenance.
- Routinely inspect all floor surfaces for wear, damage, debris, and contaminants. Clearly communicate any needed repairs to your facilities or maintenance department.
In addition, your housekeeping safety program should answer the following procedural questions:
- How will you identify potential hazards and report them to the appropriate supervisors?
- How often will you perform routine inspections, including unannounced inspections? How will you record results?
- How will you hold supervisors accountable for hazards in their departments?
- What kind of warnings or signage will you provide to alert people to slip and fall hazards?
- How many trash containers do you need to provide to deter littering, and where are the most effective places to locate them?