OSHA and slippery floor regulations




As more and more companies are becoming informed, they will probably have to make some changes due to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)

Besides the legislation prohibiting discrimination against disabled people who are otherwise qualified for a position, companies are now required to make the effort of reasonable accommodation for public access.

The Act contains guidelines and recommendations for changes that are needed to be made for compliance. There are standards for floor safety within the ADA. Consequently, slippery floors can now be a civil rights violation.

As defined in the Federal Register of July 26, 1991, the ADA requires that ground and floor surfaces shall be stable, firm and slip resistant. This means at all feasible times, not just once a week, or once a year.

If it has been determined by the Justice Department that the surface is in violation when "feasible" measures could have been taken, a fine of up to $50,000 can be imposed for the first violation and $100,000 for each violation thereafter. These fines do not include punitive damages.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends that all walking surfaces have a static coefficient of friction (C.O.F.) Of 0.50. The Architectural and Transport Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board) conducted tests and concluded a higher coefficient of friction is necessary.

The Access Board advises a static coefficient of friction of 0.60 is recommended for accessible routes and 0.80 for ramps. Most tile and concrete surfaces are designd to pass a 0.50 (C.O.F.) Test on a dry surface. Most floor finishes are not designed to pass the new advisory standards, especially when wet .

Compliance with the guidelines could require tearing out the old floor and replacing with new surfaces (an expensive option). The covering of floor surfaces with floor mats which are seldom "firm" or "stable" is not acceptable according to the Advisory Guideline.

The key to compliance for ADA may depend on proof of "DUE DILIGENCE" when selecting and using floor cleaners and treatments. The products you purchase need to be proven products designed for safety.