Slip-and-fall prevention begins at the design phase

Parking garages exist to make the best use of available space and to protect users from outdoor elements. Especially in cold climates like the northern US, a parking structure should allow people to avoid ice and snow in the winter months while walking from their cars to their destination.

The problem with these structures is that most have an open-sided design that allows snow and rain to get inside and collect on walkways and stairs, leading to a risky situation for slip-and-fall accidents. But a well-informed architect can easily design buildings with better safety results right from the start.

Battling the Elements

Riverside Parking Ramp was designed by the architects at HSR Associates, Inc. in La Crosse, WI. The specification called for checkered plate steel steps and landings. Since checkered plate steel has a very low Coefficient of Friction (COF)*, especially in harsh weather, the designer knew that anti-slip treatment would be needed to protect users of the garage from slips-and-falls. Safeguard® Hi-Traction® anti-slip direct gritting was the perfect solution.

A Better Way

Coatings applied on-site typically use sand to provide traction but this wears off quickly. Repeated applications are needed and this means downtime for the facility. Safeguard’s proprietary antislip surface uses fused alumina, one of the hardest substances around. This creates hard, sharp edges that grip footwear and last for a very long time.

In order to be sure that Safeguard’s antislip surface provides a long term solution, it is applied in a controlled environment. For the initial construction of the Riverside building, 256 pieces of steel – steps and landings – were sent to Streetsboro, Ohio for direct gritting. The team at Safeguard was able to receive the large, heavy pieces and manipulate them in the factory to apply the coating.

Specify Safety

The architect specified that a 3-inch-wide, non-slip area with aluminum oxide (fused alumina) grit be bonded to the nosing of the stair treads. The grit was specified to be #24 mesh, suitable for commercial and pedestrian applications and to be applied to a minimum thickness of .10 inches. The color was to be contrasting to tread, selected by A/E from the standard line. Most importantly, the spec said the product must be comparable to Direct Gritting from Safeguard Technology as on www.safeguard-technology.com.

Continued Success

The second phase of the Riverside Parking Ramp added two stories above the existing building and again Safeguard was contacted to make sure that the steps and landings had the dependable anti-slip that the architect had in mind. Another new parking garage was completed in 2017 with 220 steel plates coated.

Strong specifications ensure that architects and designers get the quality needed for their projects to be successful. Collaboration between designers, contractors, and manufacturers ensures that parts have their intended form, function, and safety. Facility owners can rest assured that they are running a safe operation. Manufacturers breathe easy knowing their products are as safe as possible.

Not all surfaces are optimal for direct gritting. To find out if Safeguard’s Direct Gritting is a solution for the anti-slip safety of your product, call 800-989-1695 or email info@safeguard-technology.com.

*Coefficient of friction (COF) is a value that shows the force of friction between two objects, in this case, the floor/steps and the people’s footwear. A low number means very little friction, so slips-and-falls are very likely. 

ABS, the American Club and Lamar University join to improve maritime workforce safety

Joint Initiative Tackles Common Causes of Maritime Accidents

ABS, the American Club and Lamar University are launching a new initiative aimed at reducing maritime-related safety incidents. The initial focus of the partnership’s analysis and industry guidance will be on slips, trips and falls, a significant cause of maritime injuries.

Commenting for ABS, Manager of Human Factors, Dr. Kevin McSweeney said, “We are excited to work with our partners to develop pragmatic guidance for some of the most common hazards and behaviors affecting maritime personnel. Much still remains to be done in reducing these incidents.” McSweeney provides more detail, “Slips, trips and falls have received a lot of attention over the years but remain a leading cause of incidents aboard ship. This initiative will identify, prepare and share actionable safety-related guidance to help organizations better prioritize resources and measure progress to improve seafarer safety and health.”

According to the ABS Mariner Safety Research Initiative, the commonly reported causes of slips, trips, and falls are situational awareness (40 percent) and poor housekeeping (29 percent). The American Club’s Senior Vice President William Moore emphasized the collaborative nature of the initiative, “The specific talents of all three partners have come together in identifying common behaviors and hazards impacting maritime personnel; developing recommendations for interventions that can improve safety, as well as presenting guidance to marine owners and operators in understanding key causes, with the ultimate aim of implementing onboard strategies to mitigate these incidents.”

“Our goal with this initiative is developing practical industry recommendations that can be applied to improve the day-to-day safety of maritime crews and staff,” said American Club’s Moore. “By working with ABS, a recognized leader in maritime safety, and Lamar University, this effort will move the ball towards the ultimate objective of reducing work-related incidents; we all fully appreciate what impact fatalities and serious debilitating injuries will have on associated costs to marine liability insurers – let alone the abject misery caused to the families of affected seafarers.”

“Through the ABS/Lamar University Mariner Safety Research Initiative, we have a long history of providing solutions to help prevent maritime injuries,” said Lamar University Professor and Chair of the Department of Industrial Engineering Brian Craig. He holds a Ph.D. in interdisciplinary engineering and serves as the director of LU’s Mariner Safety Research Initiative, a collaborative effort between ABS (American Bureau of Shipping), LU, and international industry partners. “By collecting and analyzing injury and incident data we can identify lessons learned and corrective actions to aid in preventing the occurrence and reoccurrence of maritime injuries. We all believe that this partnership will help improve the welfare of the maritime industry’s most valuable asset; its seafarers.”

About ABS

ABS, a leading global provider of classification and technical advisory services to the marine and offshore industries, is committed to setting standards for safety and excellence in design, and construction. Focused on safe and practical application of advanced technologies and digital solutions, ABS works with industry and clients to develop accurate and cost-effective compliance, optimized performance and operational efficiency for marine and offshore assets.

About The American Club

American Steamship Owners Mutual Protection and Indemnity Association, Inc. (the American Club) was established in New York in 1917. It is the only mutual Protection and Indemnity Club domiciled in the entire Americas and its headquarters are in New York, USA.

The American Club has been successful in recent years in building on its US heritage to create a truly international insurer with a global reach second-to-none in the industry. Shipowners Claims Bureau, Inc., headquartered in New York, provides the day-to-day management of the American Club.

The Club is able to provide local service for its members across all time zones, communicating in eleven languages, and has subsidiary offices located in London, Houston, Piraeus, Hong Kong and Shanghai, plus a worldwide network of correspondents.

The Club is a member of the International Group of P&I Clubs, a collective of thirteen mutuals that together provide Protection and Indemnity insurance for some 90 percent of all world shipping.

For more information, please visit the Club’s website http://www.american-club.com/.

About Lamar University

Home to more than 15,000 students, Lamar University, near Houston in Beaumont, Texas, is among the state’s fastest growing colleges and universities, and is a member of The Texas State University System. LU offers more than 100 programs of study leading to bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.

The university has been nationally recognized for the quality of its core curriculum and the diversity of its student body. LU stresses academic achievement by emphasizing hands-on learning at all levels, providing ample opportunities for undergraduate research and supporting an excellent Honors Program. The university is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Several LU colleges and programs hold additional specialized accreditations, including the five undergraduate engineering programs in the College of Engineering. LU also is home to the many unique programs including the Center for Advancements in Port Management, the Center for Innovation, Commercialization and Entrepreneurship, and the Mariner Safety Research Initiative.

For more information see the ABS website at www.eagle.org, the Department of Industrial Engineering website https://www.lamar.edu/engineering/industrial/index.html, and the Mariner Safety Research Initiative website http://maritime.lamar.edu/.

So many aspects of ladder safety to focus on for Ladder Safety Month … there are over 130,000 emergency room visits each year due to ladder-related injuries according to The American Ladder Institute. We believe that you can help reduce that number simply by installing Safeguard’s Hi-Traction Anti-Slip Ladder Rung Covers on fixed ladders, especially in environments with water, oil, or dust making things slippery.

Celebrate Ladder Safety Month – request a sample cover today!

Finally, OSHA has released its updated standard on walking and working surfaces. At first glance, the focus seems to be on falls from heights and the fall protection systems that have become prevalent in the years since the last standard was issued. At 513 pages, it will take some time to process this information. We’ll be sure to report on what we discover as it relates to preventing slips-and-falls.

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