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The Risks of Slippery School Floors and How to Mitigate Them


School cafeteria


According to the World Health Organization (WHO), falls are the second leading cause of death globally. The global organization estimates around 684,000 deaths occur annually because of fall accidents.


The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports over two million fall-related injuries are directly related to issues with floors and flooring materials.

In a school, slippery floors are an imminent hazard. With their bustling hallways and heavy foot traffic, educational institutions must take proactive measures to minimize the risk of slips and falls on their premises.


Where school floors are likely to be most slippery


In most cases, contractors only build the school’s flooring during development and maintain it for decades. An educational institution’s flooring structure is particularly vulnerable to wear and tear due to heavy foot traffic and exposure to weather conditions.


Understanding the areas where slippery floors are most prevalent in educational facilities is crucial for addressing the issue effectively. Here are some key spaces within schools and universities that pose a high risk for slips and falls.


Sports locker rooms


Water, moisture, and sweat from athletes’ gear are the most significant risk factors of slipping in sports locker rooms. Without proper measures, sports locker room floors are highly susceptible to being a danger zone for falls and injuries.


Entryways


Entryways are frequently exposed to the elements, making them more likely to be wet and slippery. These spaces are also high-traffic areas, especially during rainy or snowy days when students track in water or snow from outside. Without adequate floor protection, entryways quickly become hazardous for students and staff.


Kitchen areas


Kitchen areas are one of those places in schools and universities where spills are almost inevitable. Students and staff eat and drink in kitchen areas, so spills occur frequently. The heavy nature of cooking greases and liquids in kitchen areas also poses a significant fall hazard for kitchen staff. While you can easily clean these areas, the textured surfaces can still retain slippery residues.


Bathrooms


Like sports locker rooms, bathroom floors are perpetually wet. The lingering soap residue, in combination with water, makes bathroom floors especially slippery, increasing the likelihood of slips and falls.


Corridors between classrooms


High-traffic areas such as corridors or hallways are prone to spills from drinks and snacks. Building managers and janitors should promptly clean the floor when a spill occurs because it could lead to accidents and injuries later. Regular waxing should also be a part of a floor maintenance routine, but it might not be necessary with the right flooring treatment.


Primary risks of slippery floors


The consequences of slippery floors in schools extend beyond mere inconvenience. Fall accidents constitute a legal action by students or their parents, which could result in a hefty loss for the institution.


  1. Injuries from slips and falls: Slip-and-fall accidents result in a range of injuries, from minor bruises to severe fractures or head trauma, impacting students’ physical well-being and academic progress.

  2. Insurance claims: Educational institutions that frequently experience slip-and-fall incidents could face increased insurance premiums or claims, affecting their financial stability.

  3. Lawsuits from aggrieved parents: Parents of students who sustain injuries due to slippery floors might pursue legal action against the school, alleging negligence in providing a safe environment for their children.


How to mitigate slippery surfaces


Choosing the right flooring type for your institution is an effective way to mitigate risks associated with slippery school floors. While various options are available, these two are the standout choices.


1. Decorative broadcast system


The decorative broadcast system involves broadcasting small granules, typically colored quartz, onto a freshly applied base layer of epoxy or another resinous material. The contractor will scatter granules of colored quartz over the surface while the base layer is still wet, ensuring they adhere properly.


The application process for this system involved applying additional layers of clear coat epoxy, which reinforces the surface. The texture provided by the colored quartz granules enhances slip resistance and aesthetics, making it a popular choice for educational facilities.


2. Decorative flake system


On the other hand, the decorative flake system involves broadcasting decorative flakes or chips onto a base layer of epoxy or resin. Contractors often use vinyl or acrylic to make the flakes, which come in various colors, sizes, and shapes.

The decorative flake system mimics the look of a carpet with a wide range of colors and patterns, allowing for extensive customization. The texture of the vinyl or acrylic flakes also adds slip resistance to the flooring, making it a safe and stylish choice for educational facilities.


Keep students safe with a high-quality flooring system


Ensuring the safety of students and staff in educational institutions requires proactive measures to mitigate the risks associated with slippery school floors. With numerous high-risk areas, investing in a high-quality flooring system is essential to reducing the chances of slip-and-fall accidents.


Choosing between the decorative broadcast or flake systems provides an aesthetic appeal while delivering a safe learning environment for students and staff alike.

If you need to install, maintain, or repair your educational facility’s flooring, our team at Rio Flooring Systems can help. Contact us now for a consultation.

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