Carpet Tiles, Carpets, Flooring, Luxury Vinyl Flooring, Vinyl Tiles

Test Your Healthcare Floors to Check Safety Standard Compliance

Instituting proper cleaning procedures, mat programs and chemical use training will help to reduce or eliminate slips and falls in a healthcare facility. However, how can healthcare facility executives know for sure their floors are compliant with all national traction standards for patron and patient safety? The answer is to have the floors independently tested by a qualified auditor that utilizes ANSI national testing slip-and-fall safety standards.

These testing standards quantify the traction requirements for pedestrian safety and the prevention of slips and falls. ANSI standards explain the test methods for measuring traction on common hard floor surfaces such as wood, vinyl, ceramic tile, laminate and concrete. ANSI standardized test methods can be used in the field, to determine the wet coefficient of friction of all common flooring materials or walkway surfaces.

The ANSI B101.1 series of national standards divides floors into three risk ranges: high traction, moderate traction and low traction. According to studies performed by Liberty Mutual Insurance, the higher the coefficient of friction, the less risk of slips and falls. The ANSI/National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) B101.0-2012 Walkway Auditing Procedure should be used to outline the internal facility walkway audit to ensure that each area in a facility is tested properly. This standard outlines how to properly divide, classify and test each particular walkway zone.

The ANSI/NFSI B101.1-2009 defines the test method for conducting a wet static coefficient of friction test (SCOF) on the facility walkways. In other words, this standard measures the “slip potential” or the risk of beginning a slip on a wet floor. The ANSI/NFSI B101.3-2012 outlines the test method for conducting a wet dynamic coefficient of friction (DCOF) test on the facility walkways. In other words, this standard measures the “slide potential” or the risk of continuing a slip on a wet floor.

Both of these national slip-and-fall safety standards define an action limit between the high traction range and the moderate or acceptable traction range. Therefore, it is imperative that custodial management and building service contractors insist that facility walkways be audited to document their efforts at slip-and-fall prevention and to confirm the walkways compliance with national standards. To do anything less would be to guess if all the other efforts were truly effective in reducing slips and falls. This single step could change the character of a slip-and-fall negligence claim against a facility or deter a fraudulent claim from even being filed.

With a documented trail of due diligence, distributors will help protect patients, visitors, facility employees and cleaning professionals from slip-and-fall accidents and the heartbreak and litigation that often follows.