Government Required Safety Facts
ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Mandates Non-Slip Flooring in Public Buildings One of the requirements under Title III is that floor surfaces in public buildings have a coefficient of friction at or above a .6 level for surfaces, and .8 for ramps. Most public buildings do NOT meet this level on their entrances, lobbies, restrooms, and kitchens. Read more about the ADA requirements.
Are you covered? The ADA Handbook specifically lists and includes as public accommodations restaurants, hotels, theaters, shopping centers, dry cleaners, Laundromats, doctors offices, pharmacies, libraries, parks, private schools, day care centers, convention centers, amusement parks, health spas, bowling alleys, and zoos.
General Safety Orders Title Permanent floors and platforms shall be free of dangerous projections or obstructions, maintained in good repair, and be reasonably free of oil, grease, or water. Where the type of operation necessitates working on slippery floors, such surfaces shall be protected against slipping by using mats, grates, cleats, or OTHER METHODS which provide equivalent protection.
A few requirements concerning floors
#1910.179 - Foot walks shall have a walking surface of anti-slip type.
#1910.261 - Steps with non-slip surfaces shall be provided.
#1910.236 - All walkways shall be maintained in a non-slip condition.
#1910.261 - All walkways shall have a non-slip surface.
#1910.265 - Floors/platforms around tanks shall be prevented from becoming slippery.
Cost of failure to comply with ADA's requirements
Regulation 36.503(3)(1) provides for a penalty of up to $50,000.00 for a first violation. Regulation 36.503 (3)(ii) provides a penalty of up to $100,000.00 for the second and each subsequent violation. In addition to these harsh penalties, the regulations also make provisions to require your firm to pay all legal expenses of the one who brings the action against you.
The one window of opportunity to be found in regulation 36.503 (3)(d) wherein it state, "... the Court shall give consideration to any good faith effort or attempt to comply with this part."
However, the ADA Handbook goes on to state in its analysis of this regulation that "The 'good faith' standard referred to in this section is not intended to imply a willful or intentional standard... that is, an entity cannot demonstrate good faith simply by showing that it did not willfully, intentionally or recklessly disregard the law."
In other words, "I didn't intend to violate the regulation" is not a defense. The only defense that you can hope to use to reduce the amount of penalty to be levied against you is to take action now to bring all floor surfaces covered under the ADA in compliance with the ADA regulations.
IRS Incentive in complying with ADA requirements
The IRS has provided that small businesses can deduct up to $15,000.00 for certain removal of architectural barriers to the handicapped which include modification of the floor surfaces to make it comply with the non-slip guidelines. In addition, certain small businesses can receive a tax credit of up to $5,000.00 for money spent to comply with ADA regulations.
Static Coefficient of Friction Accepted Industry Standards (SCOF) as adopted by Underwriters Laboratory (UL) and the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM)
.60 or above Very Safe
.50 to .59 Relatively Safe
.40 to .49 Dangerous .
35 to .39 Very Dangerous
.00 to .34 Unusually Dangerous
The Ceramic Tile Institute identifies tiles in three categories
.60 + Slip-Resistant
.50 to .59 Conditionally Slip-Resistant
> .50 Questionable
A static anti-slip coefficient of friction of .50 or above is considered a safe walkway surface with a dry condition. A reading below .50 is considered an unsafe walkway surface (Source: The Slip and Fall Handbook, by S. I. Rosen, Hanrow Press).
The SCOF is dramatically reduced when an untreated flat tile surface is subjected to water, or other wetting agents. The SCOF of a treated surface complies with the above industry standards.
Legal Definition of Negligence Failure to use a reasonable amount of care when such failure results in injury or damage to another.
Get a Grip!!! Statistics
SLIP & FALLS ARE;
The #1 cause of accidents in Homes, & Public Buildings. (70% occur on flat and level surfaces)
SLIP & FALLS ARE;
The #2 leading cause of injuries throughout the United States. (auto accidents #1)
SLIP & FALLS ARE;
The #2 cause for Workman’s Compensation and Liability claims. (40% of all claims paid out)
STATISTICS SHOW THAT...
- 25,000 slip & fall injuries require hospital care every day (over 9 million per year)
- More than 300,000 are “disabling” injuries.
- 35% of all work related injuries are slip & fall accidents and account for 65% of lost time from work.
- Nation wide there are 95,000,000 days lost from work each year due to a slip & fall.
- The average medical & indemnity cost per slip/fall claim 2000-2001 was $18,838 2002-2003 was $20,228 (National Safety Council)
- The average liability law suit cost; is $50,000 to defend, and just over $100,000.in Judgments
- (OSHA) The Research Institute: (using Bureau of Labor Statistics) The most frequent disabling injury in the restaurant industry include same-level falls 25.3%.
Pizza Marketing Quarterly article entitled Worker Injuries Injure Restaurant Profits. Slip and fall injuries are the single most restaurant disruption and can cause sever disabilities.
National Resource on Aging and Injury: (www.nrcai.org ) Every hour an older adult dies as the result of a fall.
AARP: Falls account for two-thirds of all accidents among older adults. Statistics show that 66% of injury cases for people 65 years or older were a result of a fall, and over 75% of slip-fall deaths occur to people 65 or older.
Liberty Mutual Survey, Press Release:
- 95% of respondents believe workplace safety has positive impact on a company’s financial performance.
- 24% report a substantial positive impact.
- 86% of respondents feel workplace safety provides a return on investment.
- 61% of executives say $3 or more saved for each $1 invested in workplace safety.
- 13% report $10 is returned for each $1 invested.
- 93% report a close relationship between the direct and indirect cost associated with a workplace accident
- 40% feel that between $3 and $5 dollars of indirect costs exist for each $1 of direct costs.
- The median response was that $3 of indirect costs exist for each $1 of direct costs.
- 82% of respondents feel their company currently places a priority on workplace safety.
Liberty Mutual also finds: Falls on same level the second most common workplace injury in 2002 accounting for 12.5% of all injuries costing $6.2 billion.
According to the National Council on Compensation Insurance’s Detailed Claim Information for 2002 and 2003 the average medical and indemnity direct cost for all workers’ compensation claims was $17,787 with common slip-and-fall accidents carrying a direct cost of $20,228. Add to that indirect cost, such as increased insurance premiums; damaged equipment and/or facilities; hiring, training or retaining; and loss of production and/or quality, which are often 3 to 7 times direct cost, and that $20,000 slip-and-fall accident could wind up costing business $80,000 - $120,000 or more if the employee takes the matter to court or workers’ compensation premiums go up.
If the injured person is a customer it is very possible for these numbers to be much higher. Lost time for investigation, lost time for co-workers training, need to higher temporary worker, training new worker, loss production and/or quality, employee moral, bad publicity, loss of customers, increased insurance premiums, damaged equipment and/or facilities, correcting physical hazard, regulatory fees.
ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Mandates Non-Slip Flooring in All Public Buildings.
One of the requirements under Title III is that floor surfaces in public buildings have a coefficient of friction at or above a .6 level for surfaces, and .8 for ramps. Most public buildings DO NOT meet this level on their entrances, lobbies, restrooms, and kitchens.
Recently at the Waukesha County Safety Council meeting we were informed that the Department of Workforce Development & the Department of Commerce has recently increased its investigation of compensable employee injuries. The Wisconsin Statue 102.57states:
Violations of safety provisions, penalty.
If injury is caused by the failure of the employer to comply with any statute or any lawful order of the department, compensation and death
benefits provided in this chapter shall be increased 15% but the total increase may not exceed $15,000. Failure of an employer reasonably
to enforce compliance by employees with that statute or order of the department constitutes failure by the employer to comply with that
statute or order. These fines are NOT covered by insurance. Plaintiff’s legal expenses, as required for non-compliance of federal mandates.
You are still required to correct the problem.
Currently many insurance companies are doing much to encourage small businesses to do everything they can to reduce the exposure to slip & fall accidents, and to make sure their insurance policy includes premises liability coverage for slip-and-fall lawsuits. Claims for slip & falls, have unlimited Liability Risks unlike a finger getting severed, or something like that, the liability has a set dollar amount. Where with a slip & fall the suit could be for any amount.