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


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