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Many floors fail to meet minimum ANSI slip-resistance standard

Buildings in Georgia and around the country often have floors made out of materials that have been chosen for their durability and appearance rather than their safety benefits, according to study from the risk-assessment firm CNA. The Virginia-based company looked into slip-and-fall accidents that took place over a seven-year period, and researchers found that about half of the sites they surveyed used flooring materials that failed to meet the minimum standards for slip resistance set by the American National Standards Institute.

Entry areas and walking and working surfaces were the site of about 40 percent of the slip-and-fall accidents studied by CNA. The other 60 percent or so took place in parking lots or on sidewalks. Interior office spaces accounted for less than 1 percent of the accidents. The researchers also noticed that the frequency of slip-and-fall claims has increased over the years, but the severity of the accidents has not.

According to the CNA study, landlords and property owners could better protect their visitors by choosing floor coverings more carefully and testing their slip resistance regularly using a tribometer. Floors should be cleaned and treated with appropriate substances only, and signs should be placed prominently to warn visitors about possibly treacherous conditions.

Even slip-resistant floors can become slippery when wet, and building owners or landlords are expected to clean up spills promptly to prevent accidents. When this duty of care is not met, experienced personal injury attorneys may be able to file premises liability lawsuits on behalf of those who have suffered injuries as a result of an accident. Comparative negligence arguments are common in these cases; attorneys might prepare by gathering information about the policies and procedures the defendant has in place to deal with dangerous conditions and how diligently they are followed.

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