January 26, 2010 | | Comments 1
Print This Post
Email This Post

“Wet Floor” signs bring fire safety and tripping risks

I was discussing “Wet Floor” signs with a risk management coordinator, and I told her this is yet another sterling example of the risk assessment process.

“Wet Floor” signs are a tripping hazard, but that hazard has been mitigated to a degree by the design and color of the sign, with the ultimate decision being that without the signs, the risk of someone slipping outweighs the risk of someone tripping over the sign.

As to the placement of the signs, when patient room floors are wet, it’s pretty much a judgment call: Do you increase the risk of slips by placing the sign inside the room as opposed to the corridor?

Corridor clutter is also a concern, as these signs would be considered noncompliant by The Joint Commission if they are left unattended in an egress corridor for more than 30 minutes.

As to what one would do if the fire alarm activates, I think that part of the initial response would be to move the signs out of the way, which implies that the housekeeping folks should be keeping an eye on things until the floor is pretty much dry and the signs can be removed. That was always my practice in the good old days as an EVS tech.

Bottom line: I’m no big fan of washing the floor and then bugging out, and I also recognize that with the new microfiber mop technology there’s less water used, but disinfectant does have to “dwell” on the surface being cleaned for a period of time.

So there’s going to be an interval in which the floor is wet and a slipping hazard presents itself. Whatever your practice ends up being with wet floors and warning signs, it should reflect consideration of all these elements.

Entry Information

Filed Under: Environment of careLife Safety Code


Steve MacArthur About the Author: Steve MacArthur is a safety consultant with The Greeley Company in Danvers, Mass. He brings more than 30 years of healthcare management and consulting experience to his work with hospitals, physician offices, and ambulatory care facilities across the country. He is the author of HCPro's Hospital Safety Director's Handbook and is contributing editor for Briefings on Hospital Safety. Contact Steve at stevemacsafetyspace@gmail.com.

RSSComments: 1  |  Post a Comment  |  Trackback URL

  1. There are plenty of products on the market that cut drying time significantly, including cones that have built in cordless fans. There is even a mop bucket that has a built in fan. Many manufacturers also offer cones that have flashing lights that will warn people of their presence.

RSSPost a Comment  |  Trackback URL