Monthly Archives: July 2014

Sllip/Fall danger higher for the elderly

The Nano-Grip process eliminates the number one cause of falling among the elderly, slippery floors.Our invisible treatment creates a microscopic tread pattern on walking surfaces which actually makes them less slippery wet than dry.

Ensuring Slips and Falls Don’t Happen

The risk of death or serious injury from falls is higher among those above the age of 65. Ensuring slips and falls don’t happen is crucial to minimizing this risk.

Fall prevention is a vital area of geriatric care. The scope of a slip and fall prevention program in America is quite comprehensive. According to the latest statistics by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), one of three adults aged 65 or more falls every year, though less than half of those who fall actually discuss it with their healthcare provider. The number of nonfatal fall injuries in older adults was 2.3 million in 2010. The more worrying statistic though is that approximately 21,700 elderly adults died that year from unintentional falls.  

The Elderly Fall More Often

When you’re young, you may fall while tripping over something or you don’t watch where you’re going. In adults, falling could be the result of an accident or a medical condition that causes loss of balance, weakness or vertigo. The elderly, on the other hand, fall more often and more easily. There are many reasons why older adults are more susceptible to falling:

– Loss of footing on wet or slippery ground or floor
– Tripping over uneven surfaces such as sidewalks, curbs, or floor elevations
– Slowing down of reflexes
– Loss of muscle mass
– Osteoporosis
– Diminished vision
– Medication which causes drowsiness, dizziness, confusion, disorientation, or slowed reflexes

So the risk of sprains, hip fractures and death is significantly higher in elderly people who have a greater tendency to fall.

Minimizing the Risk of Falls

It is therefore important to protect the elderly by minimizing these risks of falling. This is what slip and fall prevention programs are about – identifying the factors which could cause a fall, be it physical or environmental, and removing or avoiding them.

Multi-specialty healthcare centers offer comprehensive slip and fall prevention programs. With a team of experienced healthcare professionals in the fields of orthopedics, neurology, advanced diagnostics, geriatric care, pain management, physical therapy, rehabilitation, and other related fields, a detailed analysis is carried out to determine the elderly person’s risk of falling. A personalized treatment plan is then developed to improve strength, balance and walking speed and step length via specific exercise and training programs.

Removing Environmental Factors Causing Falls

The other major element of a slip and fall prevention program by a reputed healthcare center involves identifying and modifying the environmental factors in and around the home that could trigger falls such as slippery floors, hurdles in rooms or corridors, staircases and wobbly furniture.

One of the big advantages of the slip/fall prevention program at a reputed healthcare center is that it is designed to ensure that the elderly individual is able to maintain his/her independence while improving mobility. It enables the elderly to enjoy a better quality of life with lesser chances of falling.

 

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Maintenance providers on the hook for slip/falls

 

 
     
 I found the following article by Patricia Vassallo in an industry publication which gives valuable insight into the liability which janitorial and floor care companies have if someone should be injured due to slipping on a floor which they maintain.
 
This risk can be greatly mitigated if the floor is treated using the Nano-Grip floor safety process. Our invisible treatment actually changes the floor surface on a microscopic level and renders it “safer wet than dry”.

A young woman enters the lobby of her office building holding her briefcase in one hand and a coffee in the other.

She takes eight steps across the lobby floor and slips and falls.

She breaks her arm, sprains her ankle and suffers a concussion.

Who is responsible for the floor that she slipped on?

Very often it is the maintenance contractors that are held responsible.

When a maintenance contractor signs a contract with a company, the contract typically includes language that specifically names the maintenance contractor as the party responsible for maintaining safe, hazard-free premises.

The contract also reads that the maintenance contractor must have insurance in “commercially reasonable amounts” to protect themselves and the company whose premises they are contracted to maintain.

According to such contractual agreements, the maintenance contractors’ insurance carriers are assuming the liability for slip and falls on the floor surfaces they are contracted to maintain.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that slip and falls are the number one cause of accidents in hotels, restaurants and public buildings.

Over 70 percent of these incidents occur on flat and level surfaces, termed a same level fall.

According to data from Liberty Mutual, same level falls represented $8.61 billion in worker’s compensation costs in 2010.

A Growing, Avoidable Problem

The number of same level falls increased by 42.3 percent from 1998 to 2010, the largest increase of any accident type during that time.

The National Safety Council reported that compensation and medical costs associated with employee slip and fall accidents is approximately $70 billion annually.

With the latest technology, you can accurately measure the potential that someone will slip, trip or fall.

Industry standards were developed using the most advanced digital tribometer on the market.

This tribometer enables you to measure exposure and maintain safe walkway surfaces using the coefficient of friction (CoF).

This technology measures the slip resistance of hard walkway surfaces by dragging a rubber sensor to calculate the CoF.

With the release of the 2012 International Building Code (IBC) a dynamic coefficient of friction test, the ANSI A137.1 standard, was included.

At this time the standard is specific to ceramic tile (Tile Council of North America, TCNA) and natural stone floor manufacturers.

Hard surface flooring manufacturers are taking a serious stance with regard to floor safety and the liabilities associated with it.

By using this technology and developing these standards, they are protecting themselves.

This is the first time any U.S. National Building code or regulation has provided detailed instructions regarding wet dynamic slip resistance testing.

This standard requires the use of the BOT3000 tribometer and is sometimes called the ACUTest.

This means that the manufacturers are required to test their product before it leaves the plant.

Following Suit

The Concrete Polishers Association of America (CPAA) began the process of developing a similar standard, where their product is tested on-site after installation.

Similarly, with the release of the 2012 IBC and the development of ANSI standards, architects are requiring field testing after installation of all hard surface flooring.

These installers are required to provide dynamic coefficient of friction (DCoF) testing prior to occupancy.

By doing this, the architects, manufacturers and installers are protecting themselves.

As a result, the liability for floor safety is passed on to building owners and maintenance contractors.

And as mentioned previously, if the building owners outsource floor maintenance, they contractually pass all liability on to the maintenance contractor.

Therefore, when a same level fall occurs on a hard walkway surface, it is not the building owner that is ultimately responsible, but the maintenance service provider.

One Example

In one case, a New Orleans resident sued the supermarket chain Winn-Dixie Louisiana Inc. and its cleaning service, Southern Cleaning Services Inc., for injuries she sustained in a slip and fall accident (according to a suit filed in Orleans Parish District Court).

The suit named Winn Dixie Louisiana as liable “due to defective and unreasonably dangerous conditions on the premises” and that “Southern Cleaning Services Inc. is liable for allowing a defective condition to exist at a Winn-Dixie Louisiana Inc. store which it was contracted to clean and/or maintain.”

The National Safety Council reports that the majority of slip and fall accidents are caused by improper cleaning methods.

According to SlipSTD PAS, all wet cleaning methods should include a final rinse with clean water and a means of drying the surface before it is re-opened to traffic.

Failure to perform a final rinse with clean water can lead to a gradual buildup of concentrated contaminants and cleaning agents getting caught in floor surface ridges or asperities.

Contaminants in these ridges decrease the CoF.

Mitigating Risk

In order to mitigate the risk of slip and fall accidents, maintenance service providers must work with floor safety specialists who are trained to test hard surface flooring to determine the CoF.

Regularly scheduled third-party audits ensure that maintenance contractors are in compliance with industry standards.

Complying with industry standards is crucial in mitigating risk because it has been scientifically proven that there is a direct correlation between the likelihood of a slip and fall accident and the CoF .

Architects, manufacturers and installers of hard surface flooring use newly developed standards in floor safety (ACUTest) to protect themselves from slip and fall accidents and the associated liabilities.

Maintenance service providers need to adopt a floor safety management program and include regularly scheduled testing in their maintenance contracts to help prevent slip and fall accidents and the associated liabilities.

The ACUTest requires the use of the BOT3000 Digital Tribometer, and the BOT3000 is the most widely accepted technology in the field of floor safety.

This technology is admissible in a court of law because it adheres to the five criteria of the Daubert Principle.

All results and data from this tribometer serve as evidence that the provider was doing everything within their means to maintain safe walkway surfaces.

Maintaining safe walkway surfaces and reducing exposure starts with CoF testing.

As with all things, safety means being proactive. A call to Nano-Concepts to be referred to a factory trained applicator is a great first step. 1-855-687-0976

A discussion of current non-slip standards

The OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910 Subpart D is the standard that discusses non-slip walking surfaces. According to Slip, Trip, and Fall Prevention by Steven Di Pilla
“OSHA refers to four separate slip resistance standards, each promulgated at different times and with varying degrees of enforceability.”
Just like all governmental regulations these Standards are in a state of constant change and evolution, however we reviewed all of the references to nonslip and made sure that our nonslip products meet the intent of the Standards and the specific requirements discussed. The most specific “standard” cited by OSHA is in Appendix A to Subpart D — Compliance Guidelines which is called a “nonmandatory” appendix. In this appendix section 2. Slip Resistance. It states:
“2. Slip-resistance. A reasonable measure of slip-resistance is static coefficient of friction (COF). A COF of 0.5, which is based upon studies by the University of Michigan and reported in “Work Surface Friction: Definitions, Laboratory and Field Measurements, and a Comprehensive Bibliography,” is recommended as a guide to achieve proper slip-resistance. A COF of 0.5 is not intended to be an absolute standard value. A higher COF may be necessary for certain work tasks, such as carrying objects, pushing or pulling objects, or walking up or down ramps.”

In addition there are two other sources that are used when evaluating nonslip surfaces, these are ANSI/NFSI and the ADA. Here are the guidelines that each has issued.
ANSI/NFSI (American National Standards Institute/National Floor Safety Institute)
NSFI – B101 and ANSI 1264 establish traction standards and methods for measuring the SCOF. The Standards are established as follows:
• High-Traction (SCOF of 0.6+)
• Moderate Traction (SCOF of 0.4 – 0.6)
• Low Traction (SCOF of <0.4)
ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)
The ADA discusses ground and floor surfaces in Section 4.5 where they say in general that:
“4.5.1* General. Ground and floor surfaces along accessible routes and in accessible rooms and spaces including floors, walks, ramps, stairs, and curb ramps, shall be stable, firm, slip-resistant, and shall comply with 4.5.”
Specifically the ADA discusses Coefficient of Friction requirements in Appendix A4.5.1:
“The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends that walking surfaces have a static coefficient of friction of 0.5. A research project sponsored by the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board) conducted tests with persons with disabilities and concluded that a higher coefficient of friction was needed by such persons. A static coefficient of friction of 0.6 is recommended for accessible routes and 0.8 for ramps.”

Slip and Fall FAQ’s

I found the following question and answer article on the website of a California personal injury law firm recently and thought it might be interesting for you to have their legal perspective.

Slip & Fall FAQs
Some of the most commonly occurring personal injuries are the result of slip and fall accidents. Even a wet floor could trigger such an accident. This is especially true if the owner or business does not provide adequate warning about these things, which could be considered potentially dangerous. Many people who have been involved in a slip and fall accident may not know what to do next. The law offices of Banafsheh, Danesh & Javid, P.C. has been helping injured victims for over a decade. For answers to all of your questions, contact our team of highly trained lawyers.
Many times, people who have been injured in California slip and fall accidents will have a number of questions. Some of those which are most commonly asked include:
Q. I fell at work; is it possible to sue my employer for these injuries?
A. Generally, no. When you slip and fall at work, these incidents fall under the workers compensation laws and you must inform your employer so that the process of being paid can start.
Q. What is a slip and fall type of accident?
A. Slip and fall accidents are when you have fallen and injured yourself. There are also several other types of so-called fall accidents:
• Trip and fall accidents: here you trip over some foreign object that is in a walking path
• Stump and fall accidents: there is some kind of impediment in the walking surface itself which causes a fall
• Step and fall accidents: there is an unexpected failure or hole in the walking surface
Q. Is there another name for slip and fall accidents?
A. Yes, these types of accidents are often referred to by lawyers as premises liability accidents. This is due to the fact that if the owner of the premises did not provide adequate warning or notice, nor did they take the proper care and steps to repair the dangerous conditions, they may be held liable for any injuries which result.
Q. What is a hazardous condition?
A. Simply put, this is a situation where there is a potential for injury. This can include anything from ice or snow on the steps of a business that was not removed to something being broken such as a step or part of a walkway. Situations in which something is broken are usually more likely to result in an owner being found negligent and liable, since it is assumed they should have known about it and did not fix the problem.
Q. Who is responsible for a slip and fall accident?
A. Both parties involved normally share some of the responsibility. Of course, the property owner has a duty to ensure that their property (house, place of business, etc) is kept safe. At the same time, each person has the duty to watch where they are going and take reasonable and proper care. This includes having the understanding that there might be things which can fall or spill out into a walkway or other surface.
Q. What is comparative negligence?
A. This is a legal principle which California follows in personal injury cases. Basically, it means that each party involved in an accident may have potentially contributed to its cause. This means that it is possible to determine a percentage of fault or liability for each party. This could be anywhere from 0 to 100. However, whatever percentage of liability you are assigned, this will directly reduce any compensation award. In other words, if you are found to have been 25% responsible for the accident (and the premises owner 75% responsible), then your award will be reduced by 25%

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Q. What should I do after being injured in a slip and fall accident?
A. You need to report the accident as soon as possible. If this happened at a place of business, report it to the manager and insist they fill out an accident report. Also, take photos of the area of your accident (this is especially helpful if there is no one to report your accident to). Make sure the report documents the conditions which may have caused the fall along with any other needed information. Also note if any witnesses were present and who they were.
Q. What types of compensation may I be entitled to?
A. This depends on the extent of your injuries. Generally, they include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and other factors depending on the exact circumstances of your case.

When the owner of a business is aware of a hazard on his property, including floors which become slippery when wet he becomes negligent if he does nothing to eliminate the problem. NanoGrip is an easy fix for tile, marble, granite, or concrete floors which become slippery when wet. With one simple application these floors are brought into compliance with OSHA and ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) standards for slip resistance. For a referral to an independent contractor qualified to perform SCOF (slipperiness) testing and NanoGrip slip resistance treatment call 855-687-0976.