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Preventing Slips and Falls

stairsAccording to GuideOne Insurance, slips and falls are the number one cause of injuries as well as liability losses at churches.  Wet surfaces, be it inside or outside your church, can pose severe slip and fall hazards.  It’s important for your church to be proactive in preventing slips and falls from occurring on wet surfaces and appropriate policies and procedures should be developed to address various wet surface exposures.

Interior

Below are some tips for keeping the interior of your church free of slips and falls:

  • Employees and volunteers should be trained to recognize wet conditions and take care of them immediately.
  • Have an adequate number of mops and buckets and have them placed in different parts of the church that are easily accessible.
  • Warning cones or signs should be available to warn church members and visitors of a spill or wet surface.
  • Floor mats should be placed at entrances and other places where they can absorb moisture.  This is especially important during the winter months, as snow and ice that is tracked into the building from the outside will melt.

Exterior

It is equally as important to protect your staff, congregation and visitors from slips and falls outside of your building.  Here are some guidelines:

  •  Keep gutter downspouts from draining onto sidewalks and walkways.
  • Excess water from lawn sprinklers also can cause pooling of water on walkways. Test the spray pattern of the sprinklers to ensure that they do not cover the walking surface and make adjustments as needed.
  • Condensation from window/wall air conditioners should not drain and accumulate on walkways.
  • Grading of land should slope away from the building to allow for proper drainage away from sidewalks and walking surfaces.
  • Blocked drains and gutters should be kept clear so that drainage for storm water is adequate.

Protecting your congregation against slips and falls should be a priority for church leaders.  Don’t wait another day to implement a policy on handling wet surfaces and to properly train your employees and volunteers on any new responsibilities. Taking this action now could prevent a costly accident in the future.

The information contained in this newsletter provides general risk management ideas only.  Any program adopted by your institution should be tailored to the needs of your entity. In addition, it is advisable to seek legal and other professional advice when adopting risk management procedures.

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