Tips on Managing Slip, Trip and Fall Risk
What factors contribute to slip, trip and fall injuries, and how do you reduce this risk at your health club? Slips and trips take place where there is too little friction or traction between your footwear and the walking surface, or when your foot strikes an object, causing loss of balance or even a fall. Good housekeeping and condition of walking surfaces are crucial for preventing accidents. These tips can help you maintain a safer environment for everyone in your club:
1. Cultivate Good Housekeeping Practices
Safety and good housekeeping go hand-in-hand. Poor housekeeping can contribute to a higher incidence of injuries. Document safe practices for your club, and train your staff that these duties are part of everyone’s daily routine. Specify what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, and assign responsibilities. Who will pick up weights, other fitness equipment and towels? Who cleans the floors and wipes down machines? Schedule daily walk-throughs by your team using checklists to identify and record hazards, and how they are addressed. One indication of an effective safety program is a noticeably clean and well-organized health club.
2. Reduce Wet or Slippery Surfaces
Walking surfaces contribute to a significant portion of reported injuries. Outdoor surface conditions can change rapidly due to precipitation that may also affect indoor surfaces when moisture is tracked in. Implement procedures to monitor surfaces and review for their effectiveness:
- Keep parking lots and sidewalks clean and in good repair.
- Remove and treat snow or ice.
- Apply anti-skid surfaces wherever possible.
Indoor controls can also help reduce slip and fall incidents:
- Use nonslip, moisture-absorbent mats in entry areas.
- Mop wet areas until dry.
- Place signage to warn people of potential wet surfaces.
- Remind everyone to wear slip-resistant footwear in wet areas.
- Arrange risk transfer for janitorial companies working in your club.
- Have floor surface friction tested if your club has had slip-related incidents.
- Gather and document key incident and response information needed during an investigation.
- Identify and monitor high-risk areas.
- Use floor treatments and floor mats appropriate for walking surfaces.
3. Remove Obstacles
Good housekeeping in high traffic areas is a highly effective control measure to prevent accidents. Have policies and procedures in place that allow time to make sure high traffic areas, such as locker rooms, the fitness floor, entryways and stairwells are clean and orderly:
- Avoid stringing cords and cables in passageways or aisles.
- Re-rack weights.
- Conduct regularly scheduled inspections for flooring problems, or other slip and trip hazards.
Following these simple steps can help keep everyone in your facility safe.
This loss control information is advisory only. The author assumes no responsibility for management or control of loss control activities. Not all exposures are identified in this article.
Jayson Scott has 15 years of experience as a commercial lines underwriter at The Cincinnati Insurance Company. Since 2014, he has supported Cincinnati’s growing Fitness, Sports & Recreation program, initially as the program’s dedicated specialist and now as national program director. For more information, contact Jay, Jayson_Scott@cinfin.com or 513.603.5885. Please visit cinfin.com/fitness-sports for more information.