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Facilities managers overlook many slip and fall hazards

The Walk Zone Safety Report prepared by a safety equipment supplier should act as a wake-up call to facilities managers throughout New York. The company surveyed professionals in risk assessment, safety and building maintenance throughout many industries to calculate their awareness of floor safety risks. Survey responses revealed widespread underestimation of slip-and-fall risks throughout commercial and public buildings. Although the data documented 10 different types of locations as fall risks, 46 percent of respondents expressed their belief that their facilities presented three or fewer fall risk areas.

The vast majority of same-level fall risk areas went unaddressed by organizations. Although 92 percent of places put floor mats at entrances, nine other dangerous zones received no attention by most companies. Floor mats meant to prevent workers or customers from falling sometimes create hazards when they shift or get bunched up. The survey showed that 15 percent of organizations reported that floor mats had caused falls.

Customer walkways often lack any mats although 24 percent of falls occur in those areas. Less than one-third of organizations reported placing mats in walkways. Building owners or managers that fail to prevent falls face high costs of liability. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, slip-and-fall accidents injured close to 200,000 workers in 2015.

When customers or visitors suffer harm due to a dangerous property condition, the owner could be held financially responsible under the theory of premises liability. People who have been injured in such a manner and who have racked up sizable medical bills and missed work as a result might want to meet with an attorney to learn about their options.

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Orin J. Cohen Law
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