Preventing slips and falls

Preventing slips and falls

Falls caused by slipping on a wet floor could easily result in an employee getting hurt and missing numerous workdays. Thankfully, there are some nifty innovations to prevent such a mishap. MARISKA MORRIS reports

The National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) – a non-profit organisation based in the United States (US) – estimates that more than a million visits to hospital emergency rooms are a result of slip and fall accidents.

A serious fall could leave an employee unable to work for weeks and could result in expensive medical costs. According to the NFSI, slip and fall accidents are the primary cause of lost workdays.

The US health and safety publication EHS Today estimates that 95-million workdays are lost per year due to slip and fall-related injuries. Even more concerning is that the NFSI estimates that five percent of job-related fatalities among women, and 11 percent among men, are caused by slip and fall accidents.

This is a concern in all industries including factories and warehouses, shopping centres, restaurants and office parks. Interestingly, the Institute notes that in more than two-million annual injuries caused by a fall, floors and flooring material contribute to the incident. EHS Today estimates that 55 percent of falls are caused by wet surfaces.

Thus, flooring material used should be the top priority in preventing slips and falls. Coba Africa, for example, offers a variety of non-slip or anti-slip mats, which are suited to use in shopping centres, stores, warehouses and factories.

The Solid Fatigue-Step mat, for example, consists of interlocking surface tiles made from rubber and nitrile. It provides an anti-fatigue, anti-slip surface that can withstand spillages with temperatures up to 160ºC and is ideal for factories and warehouses.

Coba Africa’s K-Mat, on the other hand, is suitable for use in the catering industry as well as in factories. It is a 100-percent nitrile mat with excellent resistance to grease, oils, fats and detergents. The K-Mat can also be cleaned in a commercial washing machine.

For companies with tiled floors, or where anti-slip mats might be less practical, for example in shopping centres, the Hurricone cordless floor dryer from Deftoscan could be the solution. It is a safety cone that also acts as a dryer.

The Hurricone uses a fan to draw in air through the intake grills and then forces the air out through the 360º air director at the bottom of the unit. It dries an area of up to 16 m2, in a circle around the unit. According to Deftoscan, the Hurricone can reduce the time it takes to dry a wet floor by up to 90 percent.

The unit runs for up to ten hours and uses a rechargeable and replaceable battery pack. The battery can be charged while in the unit, or be replaced to keep the unit active. “The Hurricone has a one-to-one charging ratio,” says Anton de Beer, general manager at Deftoscan. “If used for eight hours, it will take eight hours to be fully charged.”

The Hurricone uses smart technology in the form of a battery-saver circuit, which prevents overcharging by limiting battery charge. “It could be left on charge for a month without damaging the battery,” De Beer notes. There is also an LED light and an audible warning to indicate when the battery power is low.

The units can be stacked to make storage and transport easier. The Hurricone comes with a one-year warranty, although the life-expectancy is much longer. De Beer says that the mechanics and housing should last for around 11 years if stored and maintained correctly.

“The only part that will most likely need to be replaced is the battery. If it runs all day, every day, it should last for about a year to a year and a half,” De Beer points out.

Companies have the option of buying a Hurricone, or renting the device for 24 months (which includes a two-year warranty).

When using precautions such as the Hurricone dryer and anti-slip mats, such as the K-Mat, there should be no reason for employees to slip and fall on wet floors.

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