The main job of a walkway auditor is to check the flooring in commercial and residential areas to ensure they are safe and less likely to cause slip and fall injuries. Slip and fall injuries are one of the most common injuries at the workplace, and are especially common in people over the age of 65. In order to reduce the number of injuries from slip and falls, researchers are exploring new and innovative ways.
A new study has published positive results after taking a look at impact-resistant flooring that may reduce slip and fall injuries by as much as 60 percent. Karlstad University in Sweden examined the frequency of slip and fall injuries for elderly women who lived in a nursing home in Sweden. In this nursing home, nearly 70 percent of the residents had fallen several times over the last year and sustained a number of injuries, ranging from minor (bruises and scrapes) to major (broken hips).
Some of the units had special tiles that featured a soft polyurethane center designed to absorb forceful impact, such as a fall. Other units in the nursing home had flooring with more traditional tiles. Researchers looked at the number and severity of slip and fall injuries in the women living in units with the two types of flooring and compared them.
Not surprisingly, those residents with the force-absorbing flooring reported fewer injuries than their neighbors with traditional tiles, about 17 percent compared to 30 percent, according to the study. The severity of the injuries reported from residents with impact-absorbing tiles were also less serious overall than the injuries sustained by the residents of units with more traditional flooring.
The results of the study were far greater than researchers had originally expected. This leads the researchers to believe that there could be a real advantage to installing impact-absorbing flooring in a number of locations where slip and falls happen most, from businesses and stores to private homes and nursing homes. Any product that reduces injuries is good news for business owners and home owners alike.
As more studies are done that reveal the benefits of flooring that can reduce the severity and number of injuries, we may see more options available in the marketplace. Walkway inspectors, who are on the front line of evaluating flooring for safety may see a growing trend in installing impact-absorbing tiles that reduces injuries.