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Why A Walkway Safety Program?

Why A Walkway Safety Program?


Building owners, property managers, and tenant business operators need to be managing walkway risks together.  They are all likely to be defendants in the law suit when someone slips, falls and is injured on their site.  Then claims experience suffers, and it’s already too late to avoid long-term increased costs for liability coverage.

Managing risk is proactive.  Many carriers have programs to provide reduced liability coverage for properties that demonstrate competent walkway safety management programs. 

Managing claims is reactive, and expensive.  Slip and fall injury is a major issue in managing risk.  How major?  About 8 million people per year in the USA are injured seriously enough in fall events to go to the hospital emergency suite. Thousands are killed.  Estimates say many more people are injured in slips and falls that do not go to the ER immediately, but who still file a claim against the premises.

If you are concerned with walkway safety, then you need to be able to measure, assess and monitor the level of slip resistance offered by your flooring materials in foreseeable conditions of use.  You need a slip meter device that accurately assesses the risk of human slip and fall injury events.  To be a device that provides meaningful results related to people, it must represent the dynamics of human ambulation, including the actions of a leg, ankle, and foot at heel contact, as occurs in a slip-and-fall injury event.

Be informed there are slip meters that are meaningful only for laboratory testing, and do not relate to human ambulation in slip and fall injury events.  Repeatable laboratory results do not necessarily assess the risks for injuries.  Watch out for any slip meters that are dragged or otherwise creep across the floor at anything less than the velocity of a slipping human foot.  Drag sleds and all other devices that sit on the test surface for any more than one or two tenths of a second before they move are prone to significant errors from sticktion and slip-stick phenomena. There are also floor materials and floor coating products that claim to be slip-resistant that will not stand up to your own competent evaluation using accepted science and techniques.

Slip resistance measurement is an established science.  Do your research and you will find the English XL tribometer is the most respected in the world for measuring slip resistance related to people at risk of falling.  If you want to talk about consistent laboratory and field testing results, the XL is at the top of the list, which is important.  But the most important thing is to have consistent results that are meaningful in the context of human safety.

The significance and accuracy of the English XL tribometer has been proven over and over for more than a decade.  Several precision and bias studies have been performed that confirmed the validity of the XL, as recently as December 2010.  Many scientific papers have been published related to walkway safety and human ambulation that relied on the XL.  ASTM Standard Test Method for Using a Variable Incidence Tribometer F1679 was developed originally in the mid 1990’s as the user guide for the XL.  In 2006, the Test Method was withdrawn as an active standard because it relates to a proprietary device; the ASTM does not approve any proprietary devices.  However, the standard is still available from and sold by ASTM.  Currently, the User Guide published by Excel Tribometers, LLC contains all the information in the ASTM standard, as well as up to date enhancements.

Part of the English XL legacy is the Certified XL Tribometrist education and training program, the most respected walkway safety and slip resistance measurement operator credential.  Hundreds of CXLT’s are available across the country to provide the expert services essential to a competent walkway safety management program.

The bottom line is that if you are responsible for the bottom line, you want to be involved in a serious effort to control one of the leading causes of harm, expense, and long-term costs.  Walkway safety and meaningful tribometry should be a matter of great concern.


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