If you own a small grocery store or convenience store, then you likely have dozens of customers entering your establishment on a daily basis. As a business owner, you have a duty of care to make sure that all patrons are safe as long as they are on your property. This means making sure that parking lots are well lit in the evening and taking care of any broken shelves that may fall on someone. You also need to be aware of any slip and fall risks. Slip and fall accidents are extremely common, and they can cause injuries that you will likely be liable for. Around 55% of all slip and fall injuries occur due to floor surfaces that are considered hazardous. The buildup of water as well as the generally smooth and slippery nature of your floor may cause these incidents. Keep reading to learn how to prevent a slip and fall.
Keeping Floors Dry
If you have linoleum flooring material across your business like many types of grocery stores, then you probably know that the linoleum becomes quite slippery when it is wet. Linseed oil, resin, limestone, and cork make up the flooring material, and the combination of these substances creates a non-porous surface where water and other fluids will sit on the top of it. This, along with the smooth nature of the linoleum, can easily cause a slip and fall accident when customers track water into your store during a rain or snow storm.
The best way to reduce this concern is to collect some of the water before it enters your store. Consider placing a layer of rock salt right in front of your store's entrance. Your patrons will walk on the salt, and this will help to melt the snow and ice. To collect water and the melted ice, set a wet area or water collection mat right inside the door. These rubber mats have small openings where water will collect. Consider investing in a one-half inch thick mat with tapered safety sides.
Also, a carpeting mat should sit just in front of the rubber mat. These mats are made from synthetic fibers and lined with a rubber backing. The fibers help to draw water away so it can be moved down towards the rubber. The fibers do not collect water though, and this helps to keep the mat from becoming soggy and transferring water to dry shoes.
Consider a Treatment
If you want to make sure that linoleum floors are as safe and slip free as possible, then think about investing in an anti-slip floor coating. These coatings are sealants that can be placed directly over the top of your linoleum. Many of these coatings contain polymers or small pieces of sandy grit that help to increase traction across the floor.
You can purchase an anti-slip floor coating from your local home store and add it yourself, or you can contact a contractor to add it for you. When buying your sealant, just make sure that you purchase an option that is made specifically for linoleum. Concrete sealers are also available, but these products contain materials that block the pores in the surface of the concrete. These penetrating products may damage your linoleum.
Adding a Sealer
If you decide to add the sealant yourself and have purchased a polymer solution for linoleum flooring, then wash and dry your floor and pour the fluid on the floor. You can use a mop, roller, or a cloth to spread the sealer. Most polymer solutions will dry quickly, so wait about 15 minutes and add a second coat to the floor. Keep in mind that the polymer sealer will wear off over time, so test the surface every few months to see if it feels slick. Reapply the sealer when it feels slippery.
If you want a more gritty sealer, then you will need to use a textured roller to add the material to the linoleum. This will help to create a rough surface where the sand material is raised in areas to add traction to the floor. Since the material will be thick in many areas when it is applied, it will take some time to dry, so make sure to allow the sealer to cure for at least one day.
For more information about preventing or dealing with injury cases in your store, work with an experienced attorney from a firm like Putnam Lieb.