Based on statistics collected by the National Safety Council, slips and falls come in second place when it comes to injuries in the workplace. The average employee misses 13 days of work each year due to accidents related to these occurrences.
Risk assessment and creating a plan to prevent it theoretically is the first step in preventing slips, trips, and falls at your workplace. This process should include identifying any potential causes for these events and creating a safety plan to avoid them.
Ways to prevent slips, trips, and falls
Simple measures can help prevent slips, trips, and falls, such as; minimizing water spills on the floor by using a mat, getting rid of any clutter or debris in the workplace, and looking out for any changes in your environment.
- Define a risk inspection plan
- Install protective indicators for hazardous zones, stairs, and walkways
- Keep walking surfaces and workspaces dry and organizes
- Use warning signs, tags, and color codes
- Remove obstacles
- Make sure the workspace is well lit throughout the day and night
- Establish regulations for the use of correct footwear
- Restore damaged walkways
- Ensure proper access to heights
- Provide proper handrails for staircases, balconies, and higher floors.
- Take extra precautions when working at a height
- Include supplementary protection for wet floor
Defining a risk inspection plan
A risk assessment program is key to preventing slips, trips, and falls. Conduct a thorough inspection of your business to identify possible dangers and then introduce safety procedures to prevent them. Use an OSHA walking surface checklist to aid in this process. Risk assessments should be done on an annual basis or more often if change happens at your company.
Install protective indicators for hazardous zones, stairs, and walkways
To keep people from falling downstairs, use non slip stair treads that have a permanent, abrasive polyurethane coating. One way to do this is to add a lightweight, bolt-on tread cover.
These provide a lightweight surface with a permanent, abrasive polyurethane coating to increase traction. Outdoor treads, such as diamond plates, bar grating, and grip treads, are also helpful for keeping people safe around stairs.
Keep walking surfaces and workspaces dry and organizes
It is important to maintain good housekeeping practices in order to avoid slips and falls at work. Wet, debris-covered, or dusty floors have much less traction than dry, clean floors, which makes them more likely to cause mishaps. Cleaning the surfaces immediately after the spillage happens is another way of protecting your personnel from these types of accidents.
Similarly, outdoor walking surfaces should be maintained to prevent them from becoming hazardous, particularly when wet leaves and branches could cause people to fall. Wet leaves should be removed after rain, snow should be treated or removed as soon as possible, and ice should also be made safe.
Use warning signs, tags, and color codings
Visual signals, like floor tape, can be a strong way to direct workers around hazardous areas. Reflective floor tape can be key in low-light environments, while non-skid floor tape can help make marketing areas more visible.
Visual signals should be used to guide workers into safe zones. Floor markings can keep them safe and help them avoid slips, trips or falls.
Warning signs are also used to visually warn workers about potential fall dangers. “Wet Floor” signs can be utilized for wet areas that have just been mopped, equipment that leaks, or moisture tracked in from outside. You can install warning signs such as “Uneven Floors” or “Watch Your Step”. This way you can warn workers about areas with uneven flooring or other trip hazards.
Some ways to avoid slipping and falling at work are removing obstacles from the floor, ensuring pathways are clear, and keeping floors free of materials and equipment.
Make sure the workspace is well lit throughout day and night
Workers can help reduce the risk of accidents in poorly lit areas by increasing the amount of light. Workers should install your lights where necessary and replace old bulbs with new ones.
Making sure all hallways, walkways, sidewalks and work areas have sufficient lighting will help reduce your risk of accidents occurring. Both inside and out, adequate lighting ensures workers can see where they are going with ease, combine this with replacing light bulbs in a timely manner and there will be a reduction in workplace accidents.
Reflective floor tapes can be helpful in dark areas.
Establish regulations for the use of correct footwear
Your workplace should enforce a dress code that requires workers to wear the appropriate footwear. Keep in mind that slip-resistant shoes are required for certain employees such as those who work in kitchens or near slippery surfaces.
For example, when enforcing a dress code; Making sure workers wear shoes with anti-slip soles can prevent slip and falls on wet floors. Installing serrated bar grating flooring will also help improve traction on slippery surfaces.
Restore damaged walkways
Unlevel surfaces in the workplace and outdoors can lead to accidents, both surprising and expected. It is important to repair any walkway or surface damage as soon as possible in order to avoid injuries.
Provide proper handrails for staircases, balconies, and higher floors.
You should always have a handrail on any staircase, even short ones. It is easiest to prevent someone from falling down the stairs by encouraging them to use a handrail. Even when carrying something up or down the stairs, they should be holding on with one hand.
Ensure proper access to heights
Ladders lead to injuries and falls. In 2017, OSHA updated its Walking-Working Surfaces Standards to prevent falling from ladders. It is important that your employees know that they should not bring items up or down the ladder, since this practice can through them off the balance. Instead, standard stairways should be provided, and in tight spaces, alternating tread stairs are the safest way.
Take extra precautions when working at a height
When working at height, falling can be a common concern. The Americans with Disabilities Act defines a trip hazard as any perpendicular(working at height included) and change of over 1/4 inch, even in joints or cracks. Common examples of the casuse behind the falls when working at an elevation include clutter, unattended gaps, disorganized hoses, cables, or wires left in passages.
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What is the Reason for Slip and Fall Accidents in a Workplace?
Slips and trips are both accidents that can lead to a fall. Slips technically occur when a person fails to keep their balance or footing. It can happen with or without coming into contact with an object. A fall is when someone has arrived at the ground by coincidence.
We established that a slip occurs when someone loses their balance without something touching their feet. A trip, on the other hand, happens when there is an object in the way. Slips usually occur from slippery floors and most trips happen from objects that are in the way.
There are three definitions for slips, trips and falls, which all differ in several ways. Slips are when a worker loses balance without coming in contact with an object, while trips happen when a worker comes into contact with an object they lose their balance. Falls result from coming to rest on the floor or a lower level and can also occur if there is no handrail present.
In practice, there are many factors that can cause a person to slip, trip, and fall. One of the most prominent reasons for accidents is the loss of traction on floors. A variety of things can cause this, including wet floors such as ice, snow, or other slippery surfaces.
Most accidents happen due to an obstacle in the walkway or road. Falls and trips can be caused by a lack of safety features on staircases or upper levels. Ladders are the reason behind for the majority of falls from a lower level.
Why A Workplace Management is Accountable for Slip, Trip, and Fall Prevention
Slip, trip, and fall prevention results in avoiding serious and costly workplace injuries. Out of all reported injuries, about 25% are due to slips, trips, and falls. Most of these accidents could be prevented with fundamentals in design and maintenance but can also be avoided by providing employees with necessary training.
Considering that slips, trips and falls accidents account for more than $17 billion of a company’s health care costs each year, no workplace management would want to turn their backs on these regulations. This range of accidents includes serious injuries, as well as minor ones such as bumps and bruises.
The Ultimate Solution: Keep a Slip and Fall Prevention Index
Slip and fall prevention doesn’t have to be complex, time-consuming, or expensive. Consider these a few quick tips to ensure workplace safety every day.
Maintain floors and walking surfaces clean and dry
You need to remove obstacles from walkways
Make sure all work areas and walkways have sufficient lighting.
Repair uneven staircases and floors
Get rid of wobbly ladders and try to reduce the use of ladders at your place
Staying off the slips and falls chart in your workplace: Our Final Thoughts
With the many factors causing slipped, trips and falls in the workplace, most of them can be prevented by taking care to keep workers safe. Preventing slips and falls will ultimately help companies’ bottom line as they do not have to pay for costly injuries.
RAAH Safety offers a range of personal protection equipment, such as safety boots with excellent grip, indication markings to upgrade your staircase and walkways with OSHO Standards, color-coded indicators, and much more. Get in touch, and we’ll be more than happy to help you assess and upgrade your workplace to prevent slip trips and falls