How Hotels Can Help Prevent Slip and Fall Accidents During Spring Break?
Spring Break is in full swing, but is your hotel ready to provide relaxation and fun or is it just a slip and fall away from sending guests or employees to the emergency room? Slip and fall accidents continuously rank within the top three reasons for injury when it comes to those vacationing or working within the hotel industry. Consider these statistics:
- Incidences of slip and fall accidents go up with each decade of life, and within the United States, we have an estimated 74.1 million Baby Boomers.
- 85% of worker’s compensation claims are attributed to employees slipping on slick floors.
- Slip & fall accidents are the number one cause of accidents in hotels, restaurants and public buildings with 70% occurring on flat and level surfaces.
As hotel management, what can you do to help prevent these accidents from occurring?
Knowing that slip and fall accidents generally happen because of a lack of slip resistance on walking surfaces, poor visibility, walking surface conditions, or lack of hand or guardrails can help you in preparing your facility and grounds for the safety of your guests and employees. The top areas of concern within hotels for slip and fall accidents are bathrooms, restaurants or kitchens, and outdoor spaces. With that in mind, here are a few simple ways to address concerns.
Bathrooms: Hotel bathrooms are slip and fall accidents waiting to happen. Google “slip and fall in hotel bathroom” and you can be kept busy for hours on cases that have been tried (and many won), by hotel guests. A lot depends on the state and circumstance, but hotels can be held liable for injuries to guests, especially if they have not taken reasonable steps to prevent potential bathroom accidents.
For example, a guest at a Radisson hotel in Bismarck, North Dakota took a spill coming out of the shower. Since the area was not equipped with non-slip tapes, treads or handrails, the hotel ultimately lost the argument and will have to settle the case by paying damages or a trail will be held by jury. If the hotel had bathmats, non-slip tape, and a handrail in place, its argument would have carried more merit and potentially helped them close the case.
Not all states follow the same rules of course, but either way, hotels want their guests to be as safe as possible under their roof. Here are several easy ways to create safer bathroom environments:
- Peel and stick treads: These are an excellent option to put in tubs and showers. Consider something with a fine grade as it is more comfortable on bare feet, like our Flex Track 4100.
- Bathtub mats: An easy way to keep guests safe in the shower is by applying a well sticking bathtub mat.
- Handrails: Adding a handrail in the shower and outside of the shower will help give extra supporting entering and exiting the wet area.
- Put a medium grade non-slip tread such as our Safety Track 3500 in front of the bathroom sink. This tread is comfortable enough for bare feet but also stands up to shoe traffic and heavy water.
- Bright lighting in the bathroom is essential. Consider adding a nightlight or motion-sensing light for late night bathroom usage.
Kitchens and Restaurants: Hotel kitchens and restaurants offer a mix of grease, water, and spilled food. Pair that with high levels of foot traffic from pre-occupied and busy guests or employees and it makes these areas prone to slip and fall accidents. From back kitchens for hotel restaurants, bars, seating areas within restaurants, or communal kitchens that are often used for breakfast service, they are all continually seeing a flow of people come in and out.
Just last month, a Fogo De Chao restaurant guest in The Woodlands, Texas filed a lawsuit against them because of a bad slip. The court documents state that she slipped and fell “on a greasy substance that had accumulated on the floor.” The restaurant is being faulted for failing to “clean the grease on the floor.” Having a proper cleaning process in place that all employees are trained on and putting non-slip treads throughout may have helped in preventing this accident from happening. Following these few simple tips can ensure the safety of guests and employees in restaurant and kitchen areas:
- A medium grade non-slip tread is ideal for kitchens and restaurants because it is going to be able to stand up to heavy foot traffic and also the elements that are thrown at it. Jessup’s Safety Track 3500 offers an easy way for restaurants to prevent slip and falls, both in the front and back of the house. We recommend putting non-slip treads in front of the stove where grease and oil can commonly fly up, sink areas, and any longer walkway where people might be prone to walk quickly. If your back kitchen or guest area has sharp turns or doors, you will want to put non-slip treads around those areas as well. Also, keep bar areas in mind, which can often become wet and have people standing around. Installing a non-slip adhesive or tread around the front and back of the bar is recommended.
- Choose a cleaning product for floors that is NFSI-certified. These cleaning products are designed to cut through grease, but still keep floors high traction and non-slip.
- Have employees wear slip-resistant shoes. The proper footwear can go a long way when it comes to preventing slip and fall accidents.
- Continually have employees checking communal guest kitchen areas during peak hours and put up signs in guest kitchens to offer a reminder and warning that floors may be slippery.
Outdoor Areas: From the front of the hotel to pool areas, the outdoor grounds of the hotel can prove to be a tricky place at preventing slip and fall accidents. Besides being hit with snow, rain, and ice, many of the people walking outside are carrying heavy luggage, or they are in a hurry and just not paying attention. This combination can make it challenging to prevent accidents from occurring. A few tips to preventing outdoor slip and fall accidents include:
- Don’t forget about the parking lot and front entry. These areas often go overlooked, but as a hotel, you are responsible for the guest’s safety— even after they leave the building. Provide adequate lighting outdoors and in adverse weather conditions, have a system in place to put out deicer regularly.
- Apply a resilient non-slip tread throughout pool areas. Treat pool decks, diving boards, slide platforms, stairs and ladders, and zero entry or ledges with something that can withstand constant water flow.
- Check all handrails and ladders to ensure they are secured. Replace them immediately if they are not secure.
- Put signage around the pool to remind guests to walk, not run and that the area may be slippery.
- Apply non-slip treads to the bathroom that guests are using off the pool area. This bathroom is going to be especially slick and the combination of tile and a wet foot is very unforgiving.
- Have a regular schedule for employees to go mop and tidy up the outdoor pool area.
- Install outdoor non-slip treads on any other outdoor areas that have water features (like fountains), or stairs, or ramps.
Hotel management has a certain level of responsibility when it comes to keeping their guests and employees safe. Of course, accidents can and will happen and hotels are not always held liable for lawsuits, but by taking precautions, you can significantly reduce the potential of them happening and protect yourself if one does occur. Additional considerations to keep in mind when assessing your hotel for slip and fall risks include:
- Understand and be aware of the coefficient of friction (CoF), which is the measure of slip resistance. Generally, something higher than .05 CoF is considered non-hazardous. Federal regulations from the Americans with Disabilities Act recommends 0.6 or higher.
- Install non-slip treads on stairs, handrails, and make sure the lighting is adequate. These are easy fixes and are an extremely common area for people to slip and fall.
- Consistent daily recordkeeping should be the protocol for your employees. Recordkeeping will help if a slip and fall does happen under your watch to show that the area is regularly cleaned and tended too.
- If a slip and fall does happen to a guest or employee, respond immediately to offer assistance and to call a doctor. Take their information and photos if appropriate.
If you need help assessing your hotel for slip and fall safety or questions on what products are suitable for bathrooms, restaurants, or outdoor areas, please contact a Jessup representative.
For other informative blogs on this topic, check out the following articles: