A sign warning of slip hazards

New Floor Safety Standard Released

Based on more than a decade of research by the National Floor Safety Institute, it is the first step in reducing pedestrian slip-and-fall injuries.

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) B101 committee on Slip, Trip and Fall Prevention has released the first U.S. floor safety standard designed to prevent pedestrians' slips and falls. The ANSI B101.1 standard allows facility managers and others to measure the risk of a slip and fall and "reflects more than a decade of research by the National Floor Safety Institute," said Russell Kendzior, secretary of the committee and founder of NFSI. He said the new standard is "the first step in reducing unintentional slip-and-fall related injuries."

According to NFSI, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated 2.2 million Americans sought emergency room treatment after accidental falls in 2007, making falls the leading cause of emergency room visits in America, and falls are a leading cause of accidental death for people older than 85. The new standard facilitates measurement of the slip resistance of a walkway, categorizing them as High Traction, Moderate Traction, or Low Traction. Floors categorized as High Traction present a low risk of a slip and fall, while Moderate and Low floors present a higher risk.

The institute recommends that ANSI B101.1 compliance testing be performed by an NFSI Certified Walkway Auditor. A list of those is available at the NFSI Web site.

"The goal of the standard is to reduce the nation's growing number of slip-and-fall related injuries by increasing the traction of walkways," he said, noting that High Traction floors have been clinically proven to reduce slip-and-fall claims by as much as 90 percent and it may be possible to improve the slip resistance of Moderate and Low floors through better maintenance.

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