According to OSHA statistics, over 25,000 so-called “slip-and-fall” injuries occur every single day, and lead to over eight million ER visits in a year. So as a pool operator, what can you do to help prevent any of those injuries happening to your employees or guests at your pool, natatorium, or in your locker room?
It’s no surprise that standing water accounts for a large number of slip-and-fall accidents. If your pool deck retains water in anywhere, especially around structures like diving boards, you could be in danger of your facility contributing to the significant number of injuries. Even if you only look at your locker room or changing room, how many times have you seen puddles on the floor left by patrons changing out of swim suits? Although the floor may have drains, if it doesn’t have traction even a small amount of water can be dangerous. The close quarters of most changing rooms, as well as structures like benches or lockers further increase the risks of a slip-and-fall injury.
A grim testament to the frequency of slip-and-fall injuries is the number of attorneys devoted to that particular type of personal injury. There are thousands of injuries resulting from a slip or fall – more than enough to account for a whole field of legal practice. The consequences of having an unsafe aquatic environment can be myriad: from injured patrons to lawsuits – it’s obviously better to design your facility with guest safety in mind, and if you see areas with room for improvement, to renovate them sooner rather than later. In the case of preventing injury, time is always of the essence.
We focus on the role that our products play in safety simply because it’s such an important part of any establishment. Those whose business is based around water have an increased need for awareness and access to design and products that will ensure the security of their employees, patrons, guests, or residents. If you own or run a commercial pool you can plan, design, or renovate to keep water from turning your pool into a future liability.
One important question to ask is what can minimize the danger of water on a deck surface. Making the deck itself as non-slip as possible is the easiest option. Choose a deck surface that is watertight and provides grip and extra traction right where your guests need it most. At some point, most of us have been surprised with how fast our feet can go out from under us on a wet concrete surface, even while wearing shoes. Using a highly-textured decking surface will mitigate the danger that water on the deck poses. If the cost of a deck upgrade worries you, what about the cost of injury and/or litigation? It’s far better to budget for a decking expense up front rather than after an accident has occurred.
RecDeck by RenoSys is an aggressively-textured PVC flooring made with durability, quality, and traction in mind. It can be installed indoors, outdoors, around a pool or in a locker room, anywhere that needs extra traction and stability. We can also install RecDeck over foam padding to allow some extra cushioning in the event a fall occurs, although RecDeck itself can decrease that likelihood, vs. a standard flat concrete or tile floor.
Once you’ve looked at the surface as an area for improvement, let’s assume that a slip-and-fall situation can still happen. What might someone fall into or land on? What structures are around your facility? Do you have slides, diving boards, water-play features, benches, columns, etc? Do you have high-performing safety padding, or are you getting by with safety pads that you wouldn’t want anyone to actually need? Remember, as the old saying goes: it’s not falling that concerns me, it’s the landing. What will your guests land on?
RenoSys manufactures SoftSide™ Safety Padding to be the size, shape, and thickness that works best with your center. We carry common safety pad sizes that are ready-to-ship, or we can make them to your specifications. SoftSide pads are ideal for all common fall-zones: under diving boards, at water slide run-outs, etc. The pads are CPSC-certified and you can order them from 1/2”-4” thick, depending on what you need.
You can’t control every facet of operation at your aquatic center, or every guest, or where water collects, but you can make smart decisions about how to minimize risk. With your aquatic center, don’t cut corners on safety planning: risk management is the name of the game. By taking steps now to give your guests a safer floor to walk on, and padding areas around hazardous structures, you can hopefully prevent contributing to an unfortunate statistic.