How to Prevent Slips, Trips, and Falls
Slips, trips, and falls are among the most common accidents that occur in the workplace. According to OSHA, “Slips, trips, and falls constitute the majority of general industry accidents. They cause 15 percent of all accidental deaths, and are second only to motor vehicles as a cause of fatalities.”
The National Safety Council reports, “Falls are one of the leading causes of unintentional injuries in the United States, accounting for approximately 8.9 visits to the emergency department (2011 NSC Injury Facts).” In addition to painful and debilitating injuries, expensive medical bills and loss of wages due to lost work time can also result from a slip, trip, and fall incident.
The good news is that these injuries can be prevented by understanding what causes a slip, trip, and fall and knowing how to safely avoid related risk exposures.
Don’t be in a hurry
Trips and falls often occur while people are in a hurry because they often shortcuts cuts and don’t pay attention to what they are doing. Attempting to jump across an obstacle instead of walking around it is an example of an unsafe shortcut. Learn to slow down and walk sure-footedly by avoiding potentially hazardous shortcuts.
Pay attention to your steps
Avoid injuries by paying attention to where you are walking. Learning to recognize hazards and avoiding potential hazards saves time, money and injury. As mentioned previously, resist the temptation to take shortcuts because shortcuts are usually comprised of objects or routes designed for foot traffic and often consist of unstable, shaky or slippery surfaces.
Clean up spills
Slippery surfaces often don’t appear dangerous until you happen to step on them—and then it’s too late to stop the consequences of your actions. Clean up grease, water, and other spills as you notice them. Cover icy and greasy spots with sand, dirt or other types of absorbent materials. If you are unable to clean up a spill, report it to the maintenance staff or your supervisor immediately.
Practice Walking Safely
If you cannot avoid walking on slippery or wet surfaces, practice walking safely across them. Don’t try to run, jump or slide across these slick surfaces. Instead, take slow short steps with your toes pointed slightly outward. For additional balance, keep your hands at your sides (not in your pockets) to support you if you begin to fall. Remember that a freshly polished floor can also be very slick even though it doesn’t usually appear hazardous.
Use non-skid shoes and surfaces when available
If you work in an area that has slippery surfaces, wear shoes that have slip-resistant soles. Keep your shoes free from grease and oil. On large walkways, use mats or rough grade coverings to assist in minimizing falls.
Maintain proper lighting
Inadequate lighting can camouflage what is in your way, so replace light fixtures or bulbs that don’t work. When you enter a darkened room, always turn on the light first, even if you stay only for a moment. Keep walkways clear of obstructions in areas that have poor lighting.
Stairs that are too steep or not steep enough can create the potential for trips and falls. Because it is very easy to lose your footing while climbing stairs, walk up and down stairs slowly. Be cautious of worn or broken steps, objects left on the steps, and of insufficient lighting that may make it difficult to see properly. Never run up or down stairs and avoid skipping steps. If you have to carry a load while climbing stairs, carry the load so it doesn’t block your vision, and keep one hand free, if possible, to hold onto the wall railing.
Inspect your ladder
Check your ladder to ensure the rungs are in good condition and that it has no cracks or broken parts. If the ladder is equipped with a spreader that locks the ladder frame into position, make sure it is secured before you begin to climb. Most importantly, check to make sure the ladder is the correct height for the task at hand. This will prevent you from reaching too far forward or upward, which could cause you to become off balance.
Never use makeshift ladders
Never use chairs, furniture, boxes or other makeshift platforms in place of a ladder.
Cords and cables
Re-route cords and cables that may be present across aisles, in front of desks or along walkways. Other options include covering cords that run across an aisle with a protective bridge or hanging loose cables from pre-gummed hooks.
In the event of an on-site injury, please notify our Employee Relations Team or call Medcor 24/7 Injury Triage Services at 1-800-775-5866. If Medcor instructs you to seek further action and it is outside of normal business hours, please call 1-866-926-2086.