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Understanding Floor Care Terminology: Insight on some of the words and phrases related to slips, trips and falls.

Last updated 5 years ago

Originally Posted by Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

By Mike Englund
Trade publications of all kinds frequently carry articles about floor care, and most especially, floor safety.

However, a crucial factor that is often missing in these articles is a thorough explanation of floor care terminology, specifically as it pertains to floor safety and the goal of preventing slips, trips and falls.

After all, if you don’t know the words to describe a floor care condition that could lead to an accident, how can you take steps to prevent it?

Of course, some terms, such as floor “obstructions,” are commonly used and most people know or can decipher what they mean; an obstruction is anything protruding into a walking pathway.

But, others that are just as important to know are far less frequently heard or understood.

The following list offers some key floor care terms and their definitions.

Some of the verbiage used when discussing slips, trips and falls includes:

  • Asperities: Raised edges or abrasives on a walking surface that help make it safer to walk on. Often, asperities are applied to a floor surface, such as adding sand to a slippery surface, to give more traction.
  • Coefficient of friction: This phrase, often abbreviated as COF, refers to the amount of friction on a dry surface when tested with a slip meter. Slip resistance, a related term, is used when referring to the amount of traction on a floor or on shoes.

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