After nearly two weeks of consecutive rain in the Mid-Atlantic region, and with a nod to Creedence Clearwater Revival’s 1974 song, we may be asking ourselves this very question. A glance to the forecast indicates we won’t have a lot of relief any time soon. As a property owner and/or manager, it behooves you to stay ahead of potential increases in guest, tenant, and employee injuries.
Slips on wet surfaces account for 55% of worker injuries, according to EHS Today magazine. The average time off for a slip-related fall is 38 days. The Insurance Journal lists customer slips and falls as one of the ten most common – and costliest – small business claims. Customer slips and falls average $20,000 per claim, and can result in more costly general liability insurance premiums.
Steps to Take
So what steps should you take to prevent slips and falls on wet surfaces?
- Place mats at each entranceway. At least ten to twelve feet of matting is recommended to eliminate wetness from the bottom of shoes. Make sure that you have a ready supply of replacements for wet saturated mats. At an average of $20,000 per fall, you can certainly justify spending the money on well-made entrance mats.
- Make sure that stair railings are secure. Customers and employees may lean more heavily on railings during inclement weather.
- Ensure employees are wearing slip-resistant shoes, which reduce the potential of slips and falls. The space and depth of tread on a shoe are an integral piece in the effectiveness of slip-resistant footwear. Employees must be reminded that worn-down soles and soles that are flat do not have proper tread. Instead, shoes should possess treads that allow more rubber to grip the floor. Treads with more 90-degree angles help to reduce lateral slips.
Don’t Forget Your Drivers
According to the US Department of Transportation National Highway Service, 22% of all crashes involve weather-related conditions. Reduced traction of roadway surfaces and the failure of drivers to alter their driving behavior contribute to this statistic. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that “driving” is the leading cause of work-related deaths in the United States. Of 4,679 occupational fatalities in 2014, more than 40% – 1,891 workers – died as a result of a transportation-related incident. As your workers navigate between properties, it’s imperative that they realize the increased risks associated with driving in wet weather as well as the strategies they need to deploy to counter these risks, including increasing their following distances and reducing their speed.
Here Comes the Rain Again (Eurythmics, 1980)
As much as we’d like to, we can’t control the weather…but we can take proactive measures to reduce the risk of incidents associated with wet weather.