Question: Slips, trips and falls (STFs) are the number one cause of injuries at our facility and now might be a good time to sneak a tribometer in. Do you have any recommendations?
Answer: STFs are the second leading cause of lost worktime injuries in the United States. A tribometer (a device that measures friction between two surfaces) will help identify STF risks in facilities. It is also a great way to get started on a floor safety plan.
There are many types of tribometers on the market today. Most are expensive, however, which is why you might have to sneak one into your facility.
Some of the more notable tribometers are: BOT-3000 and BOT 3000E; GMG-200; GS-1; and Universal Walkway Tester. These models are robotic so they provide greater accuracy and more quantifiable results. In addition to being expensive though, they also need to be calibrated annually to provide accurate readings. An employee will need to be trained to learn how to properly perform a walkway audit, as well.
Horizontal pull meters are cheaper than robotic models by thousands of dollars. They work by pulling a sensor across the floor’s surface to analyze the tension.
An alternative to purchasing and maintaining a tribometer is to hire a walkway auditor. The National Floor Safety Institute maintains a list of walkway auditors searchable by zip code who can help get facility managers started on a floor safety plan and do periodic checks to make sure everything is still on track.
You tell us: What does your company do to identify slip, trip and fall hazards? Let us know in the comment section below!