Slippery Floors in the Home No Laughing Matter
Slip and fall injuries may be the subject of many of Australia’s Funniest Home Videos however, in reality, slippery floors are a very serious issue in our homes. In fact, slippery floors are one of the largest contributors to injuries in the home.
Statistics show that slippery floors are most dangerous for the young and the old. Young and energetic children constantly run from one place to another, increasing their chance of serious injury from slippery floor surfaces.
The elderly are at a higher risk of injury because of their decreased strength and mobility. Alarming statistics show that one in four of our elderly who fall and break their hip will die within one year from complications.
So, what can be done to reduce the chance of slip and fall injuries? Prevention is pretty much the only thing that will help. Ensuring that the home environment is safe is the only way to reduce the risk of slip and fall injuries.
There are a number of non-slip floor treatments available on the market:
- Non-Slip floor coatings are perhaps a temporary solution to slippery floor issues. Floor coatings may be effective in the short-term. However, because they are a coating, they will eventually wear away leaving a dangerous surface behind. In fact, it has been determined that non-slip coatings can actually contribute to falls. This is because we adjust our gait (or the way we walk) according to the slip resistance of the floor surface. Just think about the way you would walk on ice and the way you would walk on concrete. Well, now imagine that you are walking on concrete and then suddenly, without knowing it, you step onto ice. It is almost certain that you will fall as you haven’t changed the way you are walking to allow for the change in surface underfoot. This is exactly what can happen if coatings wear off in high traffic areas. The pedestrian feels safe and secure and then suddenly, they hit a spot on the floor which is slippery and they fall.
- Non-Slip Adhesive Tapes are another popular treatment for slippery floor surfaces. These tapes can be very effective if applied correctly. However, with poor application procedures, these can lift and become a trip hazard. There is also the problem of aesthetics. Many people do not want to spoil their attractive (and expensive) floor surfaces with these tapes. Transparent tapes are available to minimize this impact.
- Grip activator non-slip treatment is the safest and most long-term solution for slippery floor surfaces. This type of treatment actually modifies the floor surface making it more slip resistant – especially when wet. The treatment does not change the appearance of the floor surface so the homeowner’s investment is protected. It is not a coating so it will not wear off, leaving pedestrians at risk.
It is also essential that trip hazards such as scatter rugs, electrical cords, clothes and other items are kept off the floor.