Take Steps Now to Prevent Falls
Slips, trips and falls can be caused by anything from an icy sidewalk to a loose stairway handrail. They are also a top cause of visits to the emergency room. To prevent them in your church, put yourself in a visitor's shoes.
The risk management experts at Brotherhood Mutual encourage churches to look around at their church property as if they are a first-time guest who’s not familiar with your parking lot and your building. Start by reviewing these five areas.
A visitor's first impression of your church starts in the parking lot. Make it appealing and safe.
- Provide clear signage and assure that drop-off areas are well-marked.
- Repair cracks and potholes quickly.
- Keep gravel parking lots evenly graded.
- Coat curbs with reflective, non-slip yellow paint.
Make it easy for people to access your building.
- Grind down uneven slabs.
- Clear away debris, such as limbs and small pebbles, before each service.
- Assure the sidewalks are clear of snow and ice.
- Station volunteers to assist those who need help, such as senior citizens.
The inside of your building should be clear of tripping hazards, too.
- Place skid-resistant mats just inside each doorway.
- Keep uncarpeted entryways free of slick spots.
- Use caution signs to alert people to slippery conditions during inclement weather.
- Check for hazards such as loose edging and frayed, ripped or bunched sections of carpet.
Stairs have the potential to cause disastrous tumbles.
- Ensure your handrails are sturdy enough to support people using the stairs.
- Make each stair step distinct with a contrasting edge treatment so it is easy to see.
- Maintain carpet so there’s no fraying or tearing.
- Treat hard surfaces with slip-resistant coating.
While lighting is overhead, it can make a big difference in protecting what’s underfoot.
- Provide sufficient light to illuminate the entire area.
- Limit bright light in areas where it tends to create a glare.
- Illuminate your entrances and parking lots, especially at night.
- Install motion sensor lighting that turns on automatically as people move around the building.
Your ushers, greeters and safety team members are the first line of defense in identifying slip-and-fall hazards. Encourage them to keep an eye out for hazards that could lead to a fall — and to find a solution, even if temporary, as soon as possible. They should also alert people to hazards and offer help navigating around them.
Putting these tips into practice can help ensure your guests — and church members — are on sure footing each time they step onto your property.