Nursing Care Facilities Warned by OSHA to Watch Their Steps

Fall, slip and fall accidents ranked second to motor vehicle accidents as the cause of accidental death in the United States. Businesses are expecting that soon there will be safer flooring and matting manufactured to reduce these risks.

According to OSHA, nursing home or residential care facility is common venue for these hazards to happen. They estimated that the rate of missing work among nursing home employees is 2.3 times higher by combining all the other private industry businesses. They discovered that the common cause is related to accidental falls, slips and trips.

A National Emphasis Program (NEP), initiated by the OSHA will be primarily geared towards the inspection of businesses, specifically, for safety violations over the next 3 years.  It will also scrutinize all types of businesses environments for risks of fall, slips and trips. Data proved that this type of accident has caused 15 % of all accidental deaths in North America – ranking second only to car accidents.

Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for OSHA stated that nursing home and residential care employees have dedicated their lives caring for our loved ones and it is not fair if their working condition is unsafe as they continue to get hurt at such high rates. The dirty and wet walking surfaces in the building are often cited as causes of these preventable accidents. Adam Soreff, director of marketing for UniFirst said that safety-minded businesses include commercial floor mat systems that prevent slips and falls. UniFirst, his company, provides safety commercial floor mat and uniform services to companies throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Soreff explained that the most effective floor mat systems consist of placing scraper mats which have raised rubber cleats outside of entranceways primarily for the purpose of removing heavy dirt and moisture. Then carpet-topped walk-off mats are placed inside entrances to trap any residual dirt and moisture. An additional precaution is to place walk-off mats in all heavy traffic areas inside to prevent and contain soiling and moisture even further.

A good floor care system includes using special safety floor mats considering conditions of certain areas. For instance, wet area mats are utilized to funnel spilled liquids beneath their surfaces; these mats are placed near the sinks and drinking fountains which are often wet. Anti-fatigue mats reduce muscle and joint fatigue which benefits employees who have to stand for long periods of time.

Soreff adds that businesses looking for safety mats must search for industrial-grade mats that are especially made to lie flat and stay put. For this reason, he is recommending that the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) must certify that the mat is high traction.

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