Microfiber Miracle - Taking the SLIPS out of Slip and Fall Injuries
Hazards in the healthcare system seem to be multiplying every day. Notwithstanding the current pandemic exposures, the top three hazards which account for the most injuries are ergonomic hazards such as patient handling or material handling, physical hazards such as slips trips and falls, and psychosocial hazards such as violent acts. Slips, trips and falls (STF) account for the second largest number of lost workday (non-fatal) injuries in nursing care facilities (Bell, 2013) and pose a significant hazard for home care aides (Muramatsu, 2018) as well.
The healthcare goal is to care for people, both employees and patients. They are walking on the same floors and using similar entrances, lobbies, and hallways. The floor is the same for both, so if the slippery floor poses a hazard to the employee, it also poses a hazard for the patient (Quinn, 2016). A NIOSH sponsored project (Safe Home Care and Hospitals) uncovered cleaning methods that could be beneficial to healthcare workers in and outside of the hospital. These cleaning methods increase cleanliness and decrease the slippery floor hazards leading to slips, trips and falls.
One of those methods is a system of utilizing microfiber mopping to clean floors. When cleaning floors in healthcare facilities the foot traffic does not cease. Hopefully, there is signage to detour staff and patients around the wet area. Even when the signage does exist, circumstances may dictate that staff or patients cross that wet floor. This is when slip and fall injuries often occur.
If some critical steps of the floor cleaning process could be changed, the floor might pose less of a slip hazard. With microfiber mopping the floor is nearly dry as soon as it is cleaned. This reduces the risk of slipping injuries and accomplishes the task with much less chemical exposure to workers and lower water usage.
UMass Lowell (Safe Home Care and Hospitals program, 2015) published a list of benefits of the microfiber mopping system. Here is an overview:
Microfiber is a tiny, strong, lint free synthetic fiber.The fiber holds enough water to clean while just damp, without the need of wringing.
Decreases housekeeper ergonomic hazards by eliminating the handling of 40lb buckets of dirty cleaning solution.
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