t’s probably happened to most of us. That momentary lapse of attention, thinking about a personal problem or distraction by an activity that ends in a slip, trip or fall.
A stumble down a stairway. A trip over an uneven surface. Slipping on a wet floor. It can lead to a variety of regrettable events ranging from a simple bruised shin to an extremely serious injury. It’s just one of a number of conditions and situations that set the stage for slips, trips and falls in the workplace.
Here are six guidelines to help you create a safer working environment for you and your co-workers:
1. Create Good Housekeeping Practices
Good housekeeping is critical. Safety and housekeeping go hand in hand. If your facility’s housekeeping habits are poor, the result may be a higher incidence of employee injuries. If an organization’s facilities are noticeably clean and well organized, it is a good indication that its overall safety program is effective as well. Proper housekeeping is a routine.
2. Reduce Wet or Slippery Surfaces
Walking surfaces account for a significant portion of injuries. The most frequently reported types of surfaces where these injuries occur include, Parking lots, Sidewalks (or lack thereof),
Food preparation areas, Shower stalls in residential dorms &
floors in general. Traction on outdoor surfaces can change considerably when weather conditions change. Clean up spills immediately.
3. Avoid Creating Obstacles in Aisles and Walkways
Injuries can also result from trips caused by obstacles, clutter, materials and equipment in aisles, corridors, entrance ways and stairwells. Proper housekeeping in work and traffic areas is still the most effective control measure in avoiding the increase of these types of hazards.
4. Create and Maintain Proper Lighting
Poor lighting in the workplace is associated with an increase in accidents. Use proper illumination in walkways, staircases, ramps, hallways, basements, construction areas and dock areas.
Keep work areas well lit and clean. Upon entering a darkened room, always turn on the light first.
5. Wear Proper Shoes
The shoes we wear can play a big part in preventing falls and are a critical component of PPE. The slickness of the soles and the type of heels worn need to be evaluated to avoid slips, trips and falls. Shoelaces need to be tied correctly. Whenever a fall-related injury is investigated, the footwear needs to be evaluated to see if it contributed to the incident. Employees are expected to wear footwear appropriate for the duties of their work task.
6. Control Individual Behavior
This condition is the toughest to control. It’s human nature to let our guard down temporarily and be distracted by random thoughts or doing multiple activities. Being in a hurry will result in walking too fast or running, which increases the chances of a slip, trip or fall. Taking shortcuts, not watching where one is going, using a cell phone, carrying materials which obstruct the vision, wearing sunglasses in low-light areas, not using designated walkways and speed are common factors in many on-the-job injuries.
It’s ultimately up to each individual to plan, stay alert and pay attention.