Wet floors present a huge slip hazard that can injure workers and while it’s impossible to completely prevent wet surfaces, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of falling. Here’s how to do a super quick wet floor risk assessment.
Why it Matters
Slips, trips and falls are the largest cause of accidents in the workplace, resulting in more than three days of absence from work in Europe, regardless of the sector. Although falls at work may not seem serious, they can cause major injuries which can impact a company just as much as the employee.
For the company, it results in increased sick days and costs, and can cause decreased productivity and an unhappy work environment. For the team, it’s obviously a hazard to their health. That’s why it’s important to create a culture of safety and a wet floor risk assessment is one way to start.
You need to:
- Identify the Risks.
- Replace Wet Cleaning with Dry Cleaning Wherever Possible.
- Schedule Wet Cleaning During the Least Risky Periods.
- Mark Wet Floor Areas.
- Communicate with Your Team.
Start by walking around the place and looking for any potential hazards. Think about the equipment, processes and working conditions that your team faces on a daily basis.
For example, in a bar, liquids such as water, alcohol, juices or sauces can easily spill onto the floor and present a wet floor hazard - either from the spilt liquid or from cleaning it up.
It’s not just spilt liquids and dirty floors that can present slip hazards for you and your team members. Cleaning can make floor surfaces slippery too.
Combat this by avoiding wet cleaning procedures wherever possible (although in some cases, it might not be an option).
Be aware that all wet cleaning machines and equipment might not fully dry a floor surface if the squeegee is worn or damaged. So, remember to inspect these regularly and replace when necessary.
Consider any advice or instructions from the flooring manufacturer and the hygiene requirements of your workplace and if possible, replace wet cleaning with dry cleaning apart from when cleaners are the only staff present.
While dry cleaning may work in some cases, there are other times when you will need to do a wet clean - for instance, you’ll need to do a thorough clean at the end of every night and wet cleaning is the only way to do this.
In these cases, consider:
- Scheduling wet cleaning to less busy times when there are fewer people working.
- Redirecting people (workers and customers) to another area of the bar to allow this floor surface to receive maximum drying time before the floor is used.
- Having the floor cleaned as the last task before leaving the workplace so it can dry overnight.
Ensure that wet floors are always clearly marked with warning signs. This is something your team should already be doing but it can be easy to forget to do it during busy work hours or if the floor is damp, not wet and thus, doesn’t seem “that slippery”.
On the contrary, damp floors can be even more dangerous than wet floors because they look dry yet are deceptively slippery.
There are various wet floor signs you can put up, depending on the area that’s wet and whether it presents a slip hazard on a near-permanent basis. For example:
- A-frame signs and cones are ideal for temporarily wet surfaces.
- Adhesive labels for machines that may occasionally leak water, such as washing machines.
- Industrial-grade floor and wall signs for areas that may constantly get wet, such as near sinks.
It’s important that your team are always communicating with each other about health and safety. For example, if a particular area has just been cleaned and you’re about to go and fetch a warning sign to put up, remember to warn your nearby colleagues first. This kind of behaviour allows your team to practise preventative activities together, keep each other safe and work productively.
In addition, employers should be training the team on how to reduce slip hazards (among other health and safety protocols). This might include:
- Teaching about the dangers of wet, damp and drying floors and how to reduce their hazards.
- Showing employees how to clean properly and safely.
- Giving clear instructions on when to use wet floor signs and their limitations.
- Training how to segregate wet, damp or drying floors.
- Ensuring cleaners know the proper dilution of floor cleaning products.
Slip-Resistant Shoes Can Protect You at Work
A risk assessment is a great way to start protecting you and your team at work, but investing in slip-resistant footwear can actively keep you all safe. There are various safety features you need to know about, so download our Buying Guide to help you decide which shoes to invest in.