Slips, trips and falls on the bus: Why flooring and step treads make a difference

By Keith Bell

Some athletes depend on spiked shoes for solid footing and maximum traction. Northern drivers use studded snow tires to increase car traction and improve safety. They prepare themselves with a solid foundation from which they operate more safely and effectively.

Bus riders, on the other hand, may come aboard ill-prepared for a slippery floor, often in hard-soled shoes, high heels, flip-flops or huge boots. They’re relying on a firm, non-slippery bus floor to give them the solid foundation needed to help avoid injury from a slip or trip-related fall while boarding, riding or leaving the bus. And the risk of a fall is heightened for those with physical limitations due to age or disability.

The National Public Service Vehicle (PSV) Accident Survey showed that about 57 percent of bus passenger injuries were the result of falls and other incidents that occurred under normal conditions. Most of those injuries were the result of falls getting on or off the vehicle or while the vehicle is moving. Only 14 percent of injuries were the result of collisions.

Of those non-collision injuries, one-third occurred while stepping on or off the bus and another one-fourth occurred during stopping. Forty-five percent of the injuries on stopping buses took place as passengers were getting up, sitting down or while they were seated. One-third of the alighting injuries happened when passengers tripped or slipped.

Just as the nature of the road surface is key to the vehicle tires’ ability to maintain a firm grip on the highway, the bus’s step treads and flooring are key to your passengers’ safety aboard the bus. A solid footing under the riders’ shoes better enables the passengers to board the bus, walk to their seat, rise from their seat and descend the stairs with greater confidence and safety. Falls on bus floors can also result from slips on newspapers, spilled foods or liquids, mud, ice, or snow.

What can you do to improve safety and limit risk to your business?

With the growing risk of liability, the bus owner or operator should play an active role in decisions as to the flooring and step treads being specified into their buses. Be sure the flooring and step treads have the following characteristics:

  • Exceeds industry standards for slip resistance 
  • Resists abrasion, moisture and contaminants
  • Easy to maintain and clean

The selection of non-slip flooring material, proper installation and continued maintenance of a safe walking surface is necessary to reduce the risk of injuries from a slip or trip. While seniors and the physically disabled are at greater risk of an injury caused by a slip or trip, all passengers will appreciate a clean and dry bus floor and the solid footing it provides. Courteous drivers who assist passengers as needed and who avoid unnecessary stops, starts, and sudden turns will reduce the potential for an individual to stumble, lose their balance or fall while the bus is in motion.

Not all bus floor systems are created equal

The Koro-Trans Astra Flor System from Profusion Industries is manufactured using a proprietary thermoplastic compound that features a gripping textured surface, unlike the sharp aggregate that many European products use to try to create a slip-resistant surface. Cleaning the Astra Flor thermoplastic compound is also easier, faster, and does not destroy mop heads like aggregate flooring products. The material and physical properties of the American-made Koro-Trans Astra Flor System meet or exceed industry standards for slip resistance without causing abrasion.

Just as your bus tires have a firm grip on the road surface to provide the needed traction for safe operation, the bus floor should provide a solid foundation beneath the rider for their confidence and safety while aboard.

Keith Bell serves as business director of transit markets for Profusion Industries. Koro-Trans, manufactured by Profusion Industries, is the leader in safety flooring systems in the school bus segment for more than 25 years, and the only flooring made 100% in the USA . To learn more and request free samples, visit