Gresham company provides anti-slip treatment for hard surface areas

At one time or another, most people have slipped and fallen somewhere. More than likely, it happened in the shower or bathtub, or perhaps from a puddle on the floor. Maybe you were lucky and were left with little more than a nasty-looking bruise and some soreness.

But did you know slip and fall accidents are the second leading cause of accidental death in the United States? More than 9 million mishaps are reported each year, and nationwide they account for more than 25,000 visits to the emergency room.

“We were surprised to find out through the Occupational and Safety Administration (OSHA) and the National Floor Safety Council how big a problem falls were,” said Pat Meyer, who co-owns NW Slip Guard with her husband, Doug. “Most slip and slide accidents are children under age 2 in the bathtub. And with the natural weather cycle in Oregon, we figured there is a market here to help prevent accidents.”

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - Doug Meyers treatment keeps surfaces from being slippery, even when wet. The Gresham-based NW Slip Guard, founded just a year ago, hopes to change OSHA’s statistics with a new solution for surfaces that are prone to being slippery. The company uses a chemical treatment to alter the finish on a surface, which adds friction and provides traction. The application can be used on a variety of materials and is especially effective on flooring, in bathrooms and outside the home.

Doug is a stone and brick mason by trade who owned Meyer Masonry for more than 30 years. Over the years, his level of expertise expanded from indoor vinyl and laminated hardwood flooring to interior and exterior tile, granite and brickwork. He moved with the building and remodeling trends, including masonry walkways, tile floors and decks, but found his customers all had the same concern after the work was complete.

“They would tell me, ‘This is lovely work, but when it’s wet, it’s slippery,’” Doug said. “I thought there would be someone around here who offered a surface treatment to make it less slick. We wanted to find out more so we could refer people to those companies, but there were none.”

The couple began researching products manufactured specifically to temper slippery surfaces. They learned that organic materials such as stone, tile, concrete and brick contain calcium, which repels moisture and allows it to pool on the surface. By chemically altering the calcium, traction is restored.

“What the treatment does is microscopically etch the calcium on just the surface without changing the look,” Doug said. “It only takes a few minutes to apply, and you can immediately use the surface right after I’m done. It’s odorless, you can clean it just like you normally would, and it’s also anti-bacterial once it’s been treated.”

For surfaces that don’t contain calcium, such as hardwood flooring or linoleum, NW Slip Guard uses an organic compound that achieves the same purpose. The only drawback is a more frequent and thorough cleaning routine.

“Dirt can get caught in those little etchings,” Doug said. “That’s why we offer a two-year warranty, because I never know how clean someone will keep the treated surface. I will go out and retreat it for them, but not keeping it clean is the most common reason why retreating would be necessary.”

The application is a boon for commercial and industrial areas, where liquids on flooring are hazardous. Most businesses resort to non-slip floor mats, Pat said, placing them in areas where moisture collects. But given that 85 percent of all workers compensation claims are attributed to slick floors, floor mats aren’t always the solution.

“They can create other problems,” Pat said. “They have to be cleaned or rotated, and people can trip on them. There are places where mats are appropriate, but they can still be a risk.”

Since opening NW Slip Guard, the Meyers have found an eager market among residential customers. A large number have been treating their bathtubs or shower stalls, Doug said, which usually runs in the neighborhood of around $95. The company offers free estimates for larger surfaces, such as flooring, pool decks or walkways.

Homeowners and businesses can be held liable for slip and fall injuries on their property, and there’s no shortage of news stories involving multi-million-dollar settlements from an accident. Next time, it may be more than just a nasty bruise.

“Attorneys are out there looking for slip and fall accidents,” Doug said. “At some point, the odds are it will happen to someone you know or to you. Treating your surfaces will give you peace of mind.”

Contract Publishing

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