Monthly Archives: June 2014

Slips and Falls Study: Objective Auditing Techniques to Control Slips and Falls in Restaurants

A white paper presented by the CNA commercial insurance company. They site lack of slip resistance on walking surfaces as the primary reason for this pervasive, expensive, life altering problem. Nano-Grip imparts slip resistance to walking surfaces making them slip resistant (as defined by Federal and industry standards) when they are wet and at their most dangerous. For an introduction to the nearest independent Nano-Grip applicator call 855-687-0976. Nano-Grip makes floors “safer wet than dry” 


Slips and Falls Study:
Objective Auditing Techniques to Control Slips and Falls in Restaurants
More than 3 million food service employees and over 1 million guests are injured annually as
a result of restaurant slips and falls, according to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI).The NFSI indicates that the industry spends over $2 billion on such injuries each year and that these injuries are increasing at a rate of about 10% annually.
According to the National Restaurant Association, slips and falls are the greatest source of
general liability (GL) claims within the restaurant industry.2
CNA’s loss results mirror the
National Restaurant Association information. Slips-and-falls injuries continue to be the
leading source of GL losses incurred by our policyholders.
According to the National Safety Council, slips and falls constitute one of the leading causes
of accidental death in the United States.
With the aging baby boomer generation, the size and scope of this issue is expected to grow
significantly. The NFSI estimates that between 2005 and 2020, the number of seniors in the
U.S. will increase from 35 million to 77 million.
Statistically, seniors are far more likely to experience a slip-and-fall accident. For those that are injured, the cost of treatment and recovery time is significantly greater than the average for non-seniors. According to the
Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention, these types of injuries are also the leading
cause of hospital admission for older adults.
There are five major causes for slip-and-fall accidents:
Lack of slip resistance on walking surfaces
Poor walking surface conditions
Poor visibility
Lack or poor condition of handrails and guardrails
Poor accessibility
Wanting to help policyholders improve safety and continue profitable growth, CNA
conducted a case study on slips and falls in the restaurant industry, which experiences more
of these events than other industries we service. This paper reviews the approach taken by
CNA Risk Control in our case study to deal with the first two causes stated above with a CNA
policyholder, a large national restaurant chain.
Our white paper will focus specifically on the application of a new technology and a
systematic auditing technique to help objectively identify problem areas and communicate
findings and suggestions for improvement. One of the primary objectives of the study was to
monitor and document the results of floor cleaning and maintenance activities so the
decision was made early on to complete readings and measurements during non-business
hours. Furthermore, since the primary issue for the company was customer slips and falls, the decision was made to limit our study sampling toonly “front of the house” areas of thestores, where customers have primary exposure to slips and fall.
BACKGROUNDSince 2001, CNA’s policyholder had identified patronslips and falls as the leading source ofGL claims. While the company, a fast-growingnational restaurant chain, tried severalremedies and experienced some progress in this area as measured on a per-store basis, fallscontinued to serve as their primary “loss leader” from a GL standpoint.CNA initially began working with the customer onslips-and-falls issues in April 2004. At thattime, a series of floor slip resistance tests were completed at selected locations. Guest slip-and-fall injuries were confirmed as the primary driving force of the company’s GL losses, bothin terms of frequency and severity. By December 2004, the company approached CNA for assistance in developing and implementinga more aggressive slip-and-fall prevention program.
In March 2005, the company rolled out an internal slip-and-fall prevention programnationwide. Over this same time frame, CNA formed a strategic partnership with the NFSI.The NFSI was founded in 1997 as a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to “aid in the prevention of slip and fall accidents through education, training and research.” The NFSI,headquartered in Southlake, TX, is the only organization of its kind exclusively focused on slip-and-fall accident prevention.
Nationwide testing of the policyholder’s floors began at selected sites in July 2006 and
concluded in October 2006
Slip resistance is generally measured by defining the coefficient of friction (COF)
between two surfaces. An example is the relationship between a shoe and a floor
surface. There are two COF measures:
Static – The force necessary to start a body moving
Dynamic – The force necessary to keep this same body moving
In the U.S., the static COF is the customary method of measuring slip resistance.
The COF is generally measured between 1.0 for very rough surfaces (e.g., sand paper)
and extremely slippery surfaces at 0.0 (e.g., water on ice).
The American National Standards Institutes’ (ANSI) A 1264.2-2001 “Standard for the
Provision of Slip Resistance on Walking & Working Surfaces” suggests a Static COF of >
.05 for walking surfaces under dry conditions.
However, the NFSI has developed an additional test method, NFSI B101,1. This standard
defines a “High Traction” walkway as having a measured static COF of >.06 for wet walking surfaces. The NFSI is the first standards developer to create a wet slip resistance standard,

standard and estimates that more than 80% of slip-and-fall accidents take place on wet
According to the NFSI, floor surfaces maintaining this level of slip resistance
when wet have proven to reduce slip-and-fall claims by between 50% to 90%.
We chose to use this standard as part of our study because we felt it more closely replicated real
world situations.
Any factor that changes the level of friction between two surfaces affects its slip
resistance. When the floor surface and the sole of an individual’s shoe are clean and dry,
there is generally a high level of friction between the surfaces. In this case, the likelihood
of slips and falls is reduced. Over time, as flooring surfaces and shoe soles become
covered by foreign materials or become wet, the level of friction is reduced. As this
occurs, the likelihood of a slip or fall increases.
Foreign materials include dirt, grease and water. However, we also know that some
cleaning products used on flooring surfaces can build up a film in the pores of flooring
material. This reduces the friction produced by the surface, increasing the likelihood of
slips and falls. We call this buildup of materials “polymerization” and know that the
longer the buildup continues, the more difficult it is to remove. This becomes extremely
important in cases where the floor surface occasionally becomes wet, such as in
Frequently in the hospitality industry, we find occasional spills, weather-related hazards,
wet and oily surfaces and changes in the degree of traction as the primary causes of slips
and falls.
In preparing for the study, a presentation was made to the top management of the
restaurant chain. The purpose for the presentation was twofold.
First, provide education on the slip and fall issue and also relay the study’s
potential benefits to their organization.
Second, solicit their support and commitment for the project. We also used the
session to discuss the equipment and suggest how the sampling could be
With management commitment secured, the company communicated to the managers
of the four restaurants selected about the project and what they should anticipate in
terms of the onsite testing.
We decided to include a series of restaurants in our study whose layouts and interior
finish materials were consistent with what would be included in new restaurants as the
company expanded across the U.S. The sites were also located within a relatively tight
geographic area to allow multiple retesting in an efficient manner.

Due to our existing relationship, we already understood the company’s market and
guest demographics, cleaning and floor maintenance procedures and products, and risk
management/slip-and-fall prevention programs. Historical data of previous guest slip-
and-fall incidents was reviewed and categorized. This information provided a historical
perspective to losses and suggested keys to study during the upcoming onsite


Nano-Grip treatment less expensive than mats (by far)

FREMONT, OH — One dilemma many building owners/managers grapple with is whether it is more cost effective to rent mats or to purchase them outright.

According to McGraw Hill Construction’s Continuing Education Center, which addresses the needs of architects and contractors, there are several factors to consider, starting with where the mats will be used.

Based on its course Entrance Mats Keep It Clean, if architects and contractors are working with clients such as service stations, where considerable amounts of oil and lubricants end up on the floor, or restaurants, where large amounts of food and grease also find their way to the floor, renting mats may be the better option. The reason for this, according to the course, is that these mats may need special cleaning, which purchasers may not be able to provide.   However, the course literature does suggest that there can be problems with rental mats, such as:

  • Large mats may not be available from rental companies.
  • Rental mats may be of dubious age and efficiency.
  • Rental mats may have experienced substandard treatment and maintenance.

The course literature also suggests that purchasing mats is ultimately more cost effective. This conclusion was justified using the following scenario:

  • A national chain with 222 stores is currently renting a total of 98,568 square feet of entrance mats for a total annual expenditure of $512,554, or an annualized cost of $5.20 a square foot.
  • If the company purchased custom mats, [specifically designed to address] the needs of the facility, [it] would need only 77,256 square feet.
  • By purchasing the mats rather than renting them, the total annualized cost would now be $3.69 a square foot.
  • By purchasing the mats, there would then be an expected savings of $880,459 over the expected life of the mats.

“This example is designed to help architects and contractors advise their clients on the most cost-effective way to handle the ‘rent vs. buy’ dilemma,” says Adam Strizzi, marketing director for Crown Mats and Matting. “These savings can vary but invariably the end customer finds that owning is the more cost-effective way to go.”

The average cost to a facility to have their floors made safe with a Nano-Grip treatment is .80 to $1.50 per foot and the treatment comes with a 2 year warrantee. The example above  shows a rental cost of $5.20 PER YEAR, or $10.40 per foot for the 2 year period that the Nano-Grip treated floor is guaranteed to remain effective. One could easily extrapolate that the entire facility, not just the entry areas could be made safe for the cost of 2 years of mat rentals. Talk about return on investment!

Call 855-687-0976 to be put in touch with an authorized, independent Nano-Grip applicator in your area for a free evaluation of the coefficiency of friction of your floors, and a free demonstration of our process.



Safety and corporate risk management


I recently came across an article by Dave Rebbitt a recognized industrial safety professional and speaker. In the article below he discusses the fact that in safety, risk is mitigated using the hierarchy of controls. It has been around a long time and almost anyone in the safety profession knows what it is:

  • Elimination. Most effective
  • Substitution. Using a different method, process or products
  • Engineering. Design out the hazard, or separate it from workers
  • Administrative. Procedures, policies or checklists
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE). Least effective.

With respect to floor safety, elimination of a hazard is definitely the preferred way to go. The low cost option of the Nano-Grip process is a no-brainer due to its effectiveness and affordability.

Using the language of safety professionals will convey competence and lead to the understanding of how the Nano-Grip process works, and how it can benefit any facility with floors that are unsafe when wet.

Enjoy the article.

I was at a conference recently and went to a session about risk tolerance. The idea of risk tolerance is not new but the presentation piqued my interest.

Risk is not something we can do away with entirely. The first and easiest way to manage risk is to transfer the risk to someone else. This can take the form of insurance, or subcontractor. Insurance would transfer some of the risk but getting someone else to perform the work can transfer the risk entirely. If the company undertakes the work or operation, then it can use the second method, which is mitigate the risk using a standard methodology.

Interestingly enough, the type of risk really does not matter all that much. Financial and operational risk can be identified and mitigated in much the same way as what we often term safety risk. These two ways to manage risk are the most common and most widely discussed.

However, there is a third way in which corporations manage risk. They accept it. This is often called residual risk or acceptable risk. This is where we see the term risk tolerance used. How much risk will a company or workplace accept?

In terms of insurance it means setting the deductible on the policy along with the upper limits. We do much the same with car insurance. The cost for the insurance is based on the probability of you having an incident based on research by insurance companies, but another function of the cost is the deductible. A high deductible will get you a much cheaper policy. The insurance rate will vary on your individual performance just as it does for a company, whether that is property insurance or workers’ compensation insurance rates.

When it comes to safety, the impression often is that there is no acceptable risk but that really is not right. Decisions are made every day to accept risk. So when it comes to risk tolerance, the question often is, “Do we understand the risk?”

Risk is a function of the frequency of exposure, probability of an incident and potential severity of the outcome. We recognize hazards, and assess the risk using these criteria.

Obviously any high-rated risks will get dealt with first. But as we work down the scale, when does a risk become acceptable? That depends on the organization and its risk tolerance.

On an individual level there also is a risk tolerance. Workers really are very good at spotting hazards. In fact, most incidents are not all that surprising to the workers in the area, as they knew the hazard existed. Some may say they just thought the risk was “acceptable.”

Maybe we are over-thinking this a little.

In safety, risk is mitigated using the hierarchy of controls. It has been around a long time and almost anyone in the safety profession knows what it is:

  • Elimination. Most effective
  • Substitution. Using a different method, process or products
  • Engineering. Design out the hazard, or separate it from workers
  • Administrative. Procedures, policies or checklists
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE). Least effective.

Many people who have been to a construction site will be familiar with the belief that “be careful” is an effective control. Many personal or group hazard assessments contain this phrase as do many the job hazard analysis. So is using “be careful” demonstrating that workers have a high risk tolerance or just that they have no clear idea of how to control those hazards?

Workers do their job in the workplace provided by their employer. The employer is charged with keeping them safe and determining what controls are required to mitigate known hazards. The only tangible portion of that process for the employee is the PPE that the employer requires them to wear. Workers have some control over the final and most ineffective of all the controls (PPE) but not the others – those are controlled by the employer.

How many companies have a process for workers to suggest or request engineering controls or administrative controls? What about substitution or eliminations? As we move up the hierarchy, time and resources required to implement those controls also tends to rise.

Have we left our workers with only two choices – be careful and/or wear PPE? A good example is the one you would see on any construction or industrial site. Workers must move across uneven ground. Assuming that there is adequate lighting, what must a worker do to mitigate this hazard? The outcome could be a fall or a twisted ankle but the company has deemed the risk acceptable. This is where we often see “be careful” listed as the control.

More appropriately, we would use a hazard reporting process if the ground became very uneven or slippery to ensure action was taken. Still, the most effective control is for the worker to wear boots with 6-inch uppers to provide ankle support (they must be laced up and tied, of course) to mitigate the hazard as we know it is inevitable a worker will roll their foot and possibly twist their ankle.

Now, many safety people reading this are thinking they would never do that. Well, when incidents are investigated the most common corrective actions usually revolve around training or retraining and PPE. Other action items are to follow existing processes or to continue to be more careful. This hardly is an effective approach.

A recent article in the February issue of Professional Safety found that higher order controls seldom are recommended in incident investigations. Clearly, when looking to mitigate risk, we must start at the top of the hierarchy and work our way down.

Safety personnel can be under pressure to show quick results or quick action after an incident. PPE quickly is available and distributed. Retraining ensures the worker is trained but implies the training was ineffective the first time or the supervisor was ineffective; perhaps both may apply. Engineering out a problem can be both costly and time consuming.

If we are frustrated by workers who think being careful is what it takes to keep them safe, does that mean they must live in fear of an incident? It seems they are not highly risk-tolerant but perhaps lack access to the control mechanisms and methodology. If there is no way for workers to influence the control methods or risk mitigation in the workplace more directly, that probably means we only have left them with PPE and “being careful.”

Branding workers as having a high risk tolerance is over complicating things. They are great at identifying the hazards but really are in the dark about hierarchy of controls. Are we giving them the knowledge and means to reduce risk or just asking them to be careful – and wear that PPE?

About the author: Dave Rebbitt is a long-practicing safety professional with over 25 years of experience. Since leaving a senior post at the Canadian Department of National Defence after 22 years of military service, he has held senior positions in various companies. Dave is an experienced speaker and has spoken at conferences and to industry groups on various topics. He holds CRSP and CHSC designations as well as a CET technical designation. Dave also holds an MBA from Athabasca University and has instructed in the University of Alberta OHS Diploma Program. Dave currently is president and owner of Rarebit Consulting, a safety and management consulting firm.


The ROI of safety

Experts say money spent now results in savings down the line

According to the National Safety Council every $1.00 invested in injury prevention returns between $2.00 and $6.00. Nano-Grip floor safety treatments offer one of the most cost effective ways to reduce the occurrence of slip and fall accidents in the workplace. Based on the average cost per workplace slip and fall of $42,152 the return for a slip resistant floor treatment can exceed 10,000%, not the 200% to 600% average seen by other safety investments.

An independent Nano-Grip applicator can measure the slip resistance of your floors for compliance with ADA and OSHA standards. If your facility does not meet current standards we can bring you into compliance for pennies a square foot.

The Nano-Grip process is not a coating, it is a chemical treatment which will change the surface of your floor on a microscopic scale that will make your floors safer wet than dry. All without changing its feel or appearance.

Call 855-687-0976 for a referral to the nearest Nano-Grip applicator.

Brady Bunch’s Alice the maid dies following slip at home


Ann B. Davis as Alice Nelson in the BRADY BUNCH episode, 'The Subject Was Noses.' Original air date, February 9, 1973. Image is a screen grab. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)

June 1 (Reuters) – Comic actress Ann B. Davis, who played the devoted housekeeper Alice on the television sitcom “The Brady Bunch” and won two Emmy awards as the forever-single secretary Schultzy on “The Bob Cummings Show,” died on Sunday at age 88, CNN reported.

Davis fell and hit her head on Saturday morning, CNN reported, citing a close friend of Davis, Bishop William Frey.

She suffered a subdural hematoma and never regained consciousness, Frey told CNN.

Davis’ character helped keep a large, blended family functioning on “The Brady Bunch” by offering advice and wisecracks to busy parents and frantic kids, or simply by making meatloaf for eight. She was known for her light blue housekeeper’s uniform with a white apron.

Behind the scenes, Davis provided a model of acting professionalism to the show’s six child actors, who on occasion were driven more by hormones and mischief than reason.

The “Brady Bunch” was among the first U.S. television shows to focus on a non-traditional family. Robert Reed’s character, architect Mike Brady, was a widowed father of three boys. Florence Henderson’s character Carol Brady was a single mother – the show was vague as to why – who had three daughters. They get married in the first episode in September 1969.

The series made its debut amid cultural tumult in the United States but remained invariably cheery and avoided controversy during its five seasons on the ABC network. It ran during a TV era populated by caustic sitcoms like “All in the Family,” “Maude” and “Sanford and Son


OSHA regulation update

June 2, 2014

We have been advised that the Walking Working Surfaces and Personal Fall Protection Systems (Slips, Trips, and Fall Prevention) standards which were due to be updated in June are now scheduled for an October rollout.
This is the third postponement of the new standards since their announcement in 2013. The problem lies in the fact that the floor safety standards are part of a much larger piece of legislation (29 CFR 1910) which covers all aspects of workplace safety from electrical connections, to chemical identification and safety apparel.
There are scores of working groups and committees providing input for this huge update, and it has a lot of moving parts.
We intend to keep informing current and potential customers about these changes, as we have been for the last 9 months, and suggesting that they act now in order to get out in front of the enhanced standards which are inevitable.
This is the link to OSHA’s floor safety rule change website.