Slip and fall accidents are a frequent occurrence in public venues such as supermarkets, restaurants and hotels, and the insurance companies that represent property owners and managers end up paying millions of dollars in compensation for serious injuries. The sad fact is that many of these accidents are preventable. The insurance companies and organizations involved in the public real estate industry have studied the problem in an attempt to decrease the number of premises liability lawsuits they face each year.
The National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) identified nine main factors responsible for slip and fall accidents:
- Floor traction
- Floor maintenance
- Condition of walking surface
- Walkway transitions
- Lighting and visibility
- Stairway design
- Surrounding distractions
Public buildings require different kinds of flooring than private homes would use. According to the NFSI, installing slip-resistant floor covering and following proper procedures for cleaning and maintaining it would reduce the risk of slip and fall accidents dramatically. One condominium resort reduced their rate of slip and falls from 12 per month to less than 12 per year after switching to high-traction flooring. They also implemented a more rigorous system to monitor floor care. In areas where weather creates hazardous walking conditions, slip-resistant mats can be used.
Information about preventing slip and fall accidents is readily available. Under Colorado premises liability law, property owners and manages who ignore this information can be held accountable for any fall-related injuries that result from their negligence.