Preventing slips, trips and falls
With winter in full force, slip, trips or falls in the workplace will be on the rise. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), most general industry incidents involve slips, trips and falls. They cause 15% of all accidents and are the second only to motor vehicles as a cause of fatalities.
What are some prevention tips?
Most traditional solutions to slips, trips and falls focus on physical factors like wet floors, tripping hazards and walking speed. Ways to deal with these causes include: regular maintenance, rules and procedures and proper equipment and guards. Establishing good housekeeping is an important safeguard against slips and falls. In addition, providing supplies like anti-slip cleaning products and high traction mats will assist in providing protection.
Another major cause of these accidents relates to human factors that include: distraction, walking too quickly or not looking while walking. These can be best addressed through training that discusses these causes and builds awareness. Employees should understand how slips and falls occur in the workplace and should consider the risk associated when doing a job. For example, some tasks such as push loads may require more attention to slip-resistant floor surfaces or carefully selected sole material treads.
Whether a slip, trips or fall is caused by physical or human factors, they should be strongly considered while doing a job. Weather conditions such as ice, snow and mud are unavoidable. In these cases, the only defense is how they approach and walk on those areas. Some simple changes to help minimize chances of slipping and falling are wearing appropriate footwear; watching where you are going; taking slow and short steps where slip potential is high; and using sturdy supports.