What Are Walkway & Floor Audits and How Can They Help You?

wet floor sign in grocery store

A loss analysis of Society Insurance claims determined that slip and fall accidents on a level surface are Society’s number one source of loss for our Workers Compensation and General Liability customers. The National Floor Safety Institute estimates that over 3 million food service employees and more than 1 million guests are injured each year as a result of slips, trips and falls in a restaurant or bar setting.  Slips and fall accidents can cause painful injuries that may need immediate medical treatment from emergency medical services. These injuries can also cause permanent disability. It is not a pleasant image when an ambulance has to come to your business to treat and transport an injured customer or employee.  But a simple walkway and floor audit can help you minimize hazards when it comes to slips, trips and falls. Here we’ll go into the most common causes of slips and falls, how a floor audit works, and how it can mitigate liabilities.

What Causes Slip and Fall Accidents?

Slips, trips, and falls are the most common cause of injury in retail stores and are often due to slippery floors. Slippery floors are often caused by a combination of factors, which can include:
  • Uneven surfaces
  • Poor lighting
  • Using the wrong cleaning chemical
  • Using too much cleaning chemical
  • Pre-mixers not being calibrated properly
  • Using dirty or greasy mops to clean floors
  • Floor cleaning machines that are not working properly
Related Reading: “The Importance of Proper Restaurant Grease Removal for Kitchen Floors.”

What Is a Floor Audit?

A floor audit is a way that risk control experts evaluate your business’ safety protocols, identify potential tripping hazards, and ensure floor infrastructure is sound. A comprehensive floor safety audit will include:
  • Aisle/walkway inspections
  • Outdoor sidewalks, parking lot and curbs
  • Production areas
  • Stairways and ramps
  • Cleaning regimen

What Experts Look For During a Floor Audit

As experts tour your facility, they check for a number of things. This list is not all-inclusive. 
  • Are the right safeguards in place (eg. handrails, clearly marked steps and curbs, etc.)?
  • Is there adequate lighting in walkways?
  • Are mats and runners intact or are there frayed edges or tears?
  • Are there potholes in the parking lot or large cracks in the sidewalk?
  • Are work areas sanitary?
  • Do employees know the floor maintenance guidelines and how to properly handle equipment/chemicals?
  • Is equipment stored properly so as not to block walkways?
  • Are cleaning tools stocked and in good condition?
  • Do employees have non-slip footwear?

Why Should You Have a Floor or Walkway Audit From Society Insurance?

Society Insurance risk control experts work directly with policyholders, taking a proactive approach to reduce the number of slip and fall accident claims and their severity. This is done by reviewing floor cleaning procedures, the use of floor mats, maintenance and repair of floor surfaces, advocating non-slip footwear programs for employees, and completing walkway audits. A floor audit or walkway audit is a risk control service offered to Society Insurance policyholders designed to reduce the risk of slip and fall injuries. Completing a floor audit and developing a plan to improve floor traction will help to prevent costly customer and employee slip and fall accident claims. To learn more about floor audits, reducing the risk of slip and fall accidents, and consulting with Society’s risk control experts, contact your local Society agent.

Author

Frank Norton, Senior Risk Control Representative Frank earned a Bachelor of Arts in business administration from Wayne State University. He has worked in risk control for over 30 years and provides comprehensive and highly sophisticated risk control consultative services. Frank has earned the Associate in Loss Control Management (ALCM), Certified Safety Professional (CSP), Certified Fire Protection Specialist (CFPS), Walkway Auditor Certificate Holder (WACH) and Charter Property & Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) professional designations. He is a member of the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

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