Why Corsicana, TX, Property Owners Should Be Aware of the Slip and Fall Risks of a Water Damage Disaster
Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak highlights statistics demonstrating the safety hazards that arise when water damage occurs.
SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak urges homeowners, businesses, and property managers to consider the link between water damage restoration and safety. A water intrusion or flooding disaster creates situations that can put families, guests, employees, clientele, and customers at risk of slipping, tripping, and falling. Prompt water damage mitigation, cleanup, and restoration are crucial to restoring a safe, healthy environment for the family, employees, and customers.
The National Floor Safety Institute has compiled statistics highlighting the risk of injury from slips, trips, and falls.
- Falls account for over 8 million emergency visits to the hospital every year, and falling is the number one cause of trips to the ER.
- Half of all accidental deaths in the home are caused by a fall.
- Flooring and flooring materials are contributing factors in over 2 million fall injuries every year.
- Fall injuries are the leading cause of lost workdays and workers’ compensation claims.
- Injuries from slips and falls are the leading occupational injury for people aged 55 years and older.
- A fall-related occupational injury resulting in a temporary or permanent disability costs approximately $250,000-$300,000 per year.
Wet floors are dangerous. A water intrusion on concrete, tile, wood or vinyl flooring, laminate flooring, or carpeting elevates the risk of a slip-and-fall for anyone walking on the surface. Leaving the restoration process to professionals greatly reduces the risk of a slip-and-fall injury.
How Property Owners Can Respond Quickly to a Water Damage Disaster
Step #1: Stop the water intrusion immediately.
Begin by identifying the source of the water intrusion. If the intrusion is due to a burst water supply line to an appliance, faucet, or toilet, stop the flow at the shutoff valve. Otherwise, turn off the water flow at the main valve into the home or business.
Step #2: Implement temporary safety precautions to protect occupants from slipping, tripping, and falling.
In the home, let everyone know of the situation and the dangers of slipping. It is important to avoid tracking the water throughout the house, especially if gray water and black water are involved. The cleanup and restoration project becomes more complicated when raw sewage has been spread throughout the home. Remove four-legged pets from the water-damaged area. Keep children away from the wet flooring.
In a business, the first step is to identify the source of the water intrusion and stop the flow. Safety precautions may include putting up signage, safety tape, and safety cones to warn employees and customers of the danger. The legal liabilities are great. Proactively implement all reasonable and required measures to identify the hazardous area and restrict unnecessary foot traffic. Demonstrate and document that due diligence was taken to determine the risk hazard, restrict traffic, and prevent injury.
Step #3: Take action to remove the water and moisture as soon as possible.
In the home, a minor spill can be managed with a mop, towels, and a bucket. Moisture in carpeting, under flooring, or in walls and ceilings needs professional expertise and equipment to prevent secondary damage, including structural damage and the potential for a mold infestation.
Minor water intrusion incidents in a commercial setting can be managed in-house with janitorial and maintenance staff who have been assigned such responsibilities and who possess the training and equipment to perform the required activities. When a property damage disaster occurs, everyone wants to pitch in to restore normal business operations as soon as possible. Tasking untrained and ill-equipped employees with performing duties outside the scope of their assigned job description exposes the employer to liabilities that could cost the company large legal fees and larger injury payouts.
More extensive water intrusion may require professional water damage restoration services from a company with the personnel, equipment, moisture-detecting technology, and cleaning techniques needed to accomplish the project safely and quickly. A reputable property damage restoration company will be bonded, licensed, and insured, which relieves the customer from any liability should an employee of the restoration company be injured while providing cleanup and restoration services at the location.
Both the homeowner and business owner should consult with their insurance provider to determine if water damage restoration is covered under the terms of the policy.
Professional Water Damage Restoration Solutions
When is the time to call in professionals to handle a water damage disaster?
- When the water extraction cannot be easily and quickly managed
- When circumstances in the home or business necessitate fast, efficient water damage cleanup and restoration
- When applied structural drying is needed
- When the cleanup and restoration project puts family members at risk of personal injury from a slip-and-fall injury or from exposure to water contaminated with sewage or other toxic substances
- When the cleanup and restoration project puts employees at risk of personal injury from a slip-and-fall accident or from exposure to water contaminated with sewage or toxic substances