It is an integral part of daytime telly advertising; the obligatory scene of some poor soul slipping on a wet surface and snapping an ankle, or a poor old dear with arthritis who can barely lift her legs tripping over a wonky paving slab. Then the words 'sue them for all it is worth!' or something like that anyway. The point is, for all the expenditure of albeit very low budget adverts, (come on, it looks like some of them are done by an A level film student who has enlisted the likes of Aunty Doris to perform the disastrous slipping deed and asked granddad to do the voice-over!) there must be a lot of money to be made from slips and falls in the workplace.
An obvious answer one would think would to be adequately insured against such clumsy footed people. Maybe that is a bit mean, and if were I the boss of all bosses I'd be making sure that even the sloppy steppers could cope with the workplace flooring. A budget option could be duct tape to stick down the carpet tiles that are coming loose at the corners. Or get a roll of the black and yellow stripy hazard tape to use on stair case edges when those funny rubber safety non-slip whatsits have come loose. I don't think that would satisfy the insurance company should a fatal fall occur.
A more sensible, people friendly approach and one that would keep the insurance demons away, would be to install safe and adequate flooring. Industry standards are high, and so they should be really. As mentioned earlier, if the injury claims companies can afford to be paying for TV advertising for what seems like 24 hours a day, there is money to be made from payouts to injured people. In the workplace, a small company, or big corporation not only loses revenue by having to make a payout towards an insurance claim (presuming the claim was successful, or else the company might be liable to foot the entire bill), but has to suffer the temporary loss of an employee. In these situations, the worker will have to be paid whilst the work does not get done or someone else is paid to do it. Losses like these add up.
In the public arena many of us are oblivious to the health and safety issues that surround our everyday lives; until something goes wrong and we feel like our safety has been either neglected or compromised. Wandering around a supermarket, clothes store or even through a market place we expect without thinking that we are in safe hands and a hazard free zone. Should we happen to trip on the edge of ageing flooring or slip on a wet patch of vinyl we are up in arms. It's almost as if we believe that things in the control of others are under constant surveillance, never suffer wear and tear and so if there is a fault then some terrible case for negligence should be sought.
This is neglecting the laws of nature and cause an effect. Nothing is permanent and it cannot be expected that all areas we access be so safe that we can wander around blindfold; some people need to learn to take responsibility for themselves. Of course, sensible measures need to be put in place so accidents are less likely, and it is the duty of employers and companies to provide safe flooring for everyone to meet industry standards. If I was head of my own company, I'd make sure that I chose a hard wearing, industrial strength flooring that few could slip or trip on. Astroturf would be my covering of choice, that way it would inject a bit of humour into the equation, and should some silly someone slip, I'd be able to point out the clause in the insurance claim that they should have been wearing football boots!
Shaun Parker is a leading flooring expert with many years of experience in the industrial flooring industry. Find out more about Industrial Flooring pontton flooring and composite decking at Dura Composites