According to the U.S. Department of Labor, private industry employers reported close to 2.8 million non-fatal workplace injuries in 2016. Accidents that caused employees to miss at least six workdays cost employers in the U.S. nearly $62 billion. Slip and fall accidents are a particular danger for businesses in Minnesota and across the U.S., accounting for $2.35 billion in business costs alone.

When warning signs and personal awareness fail to reduce the number of slip and falls, floor mats should be considered. There are a few ways that matting can help.

First of all, mats provide traction, keeping workers upright and safe. Mats made from chemical- and grease-resistant rubber can also drain away oil and water if placed in areas where spills are frequent. Safety-yellow mats improve visibility; together with anti-slip tapes, they can guide workers through poorly lit stairwells and walkways. Mats can additionally be used to mark out emergency exits as well as unsafe zones.

Mats are beneficial for workers who stand for long periods of time. Prolonged standing can lead to lower back and leg pain, fatigue, discomfort, and even pregnancy-related health concerns, but mats provide the cushioning necessary to prevent these. The insulated materials on certain mats will prevent the buildup of static electricity. Grounding cords could keep electricity from discharging to workers and sensitive equipment.

When workers are injured, they can retain a lawyer to see if negligence on the business owner’s part caused the accident. If they find no violation of workplace safety standards, then the better way to proceed is to file for workers’ compensation benefits. If the accident was due to the negligence of a non-employer third party, such as the manufacturer of a defective part, then in some cases a separate lawsuit could be maintained.