Safety Surfaces: A Case in Point

Sept. 1, 2003
Safety Surfaces: A Case in Point
Floor covering helps rehab hospital address its slip and fall injury concerns.Increased safety consciousness is being fueled not just by an aging public, but by businesses eager to protect themselves from the litigation that can result from personal injury cases, including slip and fall injuries, which have become the third leading cause of disabling work injuries in the U.S. in all types of business—not just construction. In fact, reports the National Safety Council, 13 million slip, trip and fall injuries occur each year; 25,000 of these happen in the U.S. per day. And while falls from elevation garner the most attention since they can be very serious and sometimes fatal, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that more falls occur from the same level rather than from elevation. With work-related injuries costing business about $123 billion annually, and an estimated half-million of those caused by slips and falls on an unobstructed floor, reports an article in the January/February 2001 issue of Floor Focus magazine, it's easy to see why schools, fitness and recreation centers, healthcare facilities, restaurants, hotels and even retail stores would want to limit their risks by installing slip-fighting flooring.These were among the concerns at Southern Indiana Rehab Hospital, New Albany, IN, when it selected Lonseal's Londura for the creation of interior spaces where wet floors need not be an impediment to safety.According to David Reynolds, manager of facilities and purchasing, in Southern Indiana's case the hospital's hydrotherapy room had been a notoriously slippery area for a clientele who did not need to add a slip-fall to the already-serious injuries for which they were being treated. The therapy room's pool-like dampness and corrosive chemicals had prohibited the use of any cushioning against the unyielding slickness of the concrete other than walk-off matting—an unsanitary slip-fighting solution that added to the staff's repetitive stress issues (from the only available cleaning regimen) on their list of complaints about the treacherous water-treatment room. So it was that when Southern Indiana Rehab Hospital was introduced to the then-experimental Londura safety surface, it was attracted to the product's practical potential.Upon installation, Southern Indiana was pleased to learn that Londura's sterile seam-welding utility and anti-microbial sheet construction had not only made the floors more sanitary, but also easier to clean—replacing mat-scouring with a nightly mopping. Furthermore, Southern Indiana's wet-traction slip-resistance saw a dramatic improvement, says Reynolds, drastically reducing the risk of slip-fall injury in its hydrotherapy room while simplifying the facility's maintenance. In fact, according to the August 10, 2002 issue of COF Test, Londura's top two competitor safety surfaces lose 18.5 percent and 23.9 percent respectively, of their traction when wet, while Londura's exclusive homogeneous traction-control multi-polymer-matrix micro-embossing actually increases its coefficient of fraction when wet.

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