Falling in the workplace is very common. In fact, roughly 26% of nonfatal workplace injuries are caused by tripping, slipping, and falling onto hard surfaces. Injuries from falling in the workplace can be drastically reduced by simply following a few simple steps. Listed below are several tips workers and workplaces can do to help eliminate falling hazards throughout the work environment and cut down on injuries to workers.
Before we get to the list it is important for workplaces to know the differences between a slip and a trip in order to help spot hazardous areas. Slipping happens when traction is lost between a person’s feet and the surface. Tripping is generally caused by a foot striking an object and causing a person to lose balance and fall.
Clean Up Spills
Spills are the leading cause of slips. Common workplace spills include water, oil, and chemicals. All spills should be cleaned up immediately and thoroughly. Caution signs that alert workers to a slippery surface should be set up until the surface is completely dry.
Carpeting And Mats
Carpeting and mats, even the ones made to prevent falling can pose a slipping or tripping hazard if not properly placed on the surface. Mats, rugs, and carpets should be securely attached to the surface so they do not slide and pose a slipping hazard. They also need to lay flat and not wrinkled so workers will not trip over them.
Cords, Wires, And Cables
Whether it is an office environment or a construction zone there is going to be wires, cables, and cords around more than likely. These can pose as huge tripping hazards. Wires, cables, and cords should be tucked away from walkways as much as possible. Cord covers can be bought for cords or wires that are in the path of a walkway and will help prevent tripping over them.
Worn Out Flooring
Over time floors will get worn down causing them to obtain cracks and holes. These cracks and holes will be tripping hazards. Worn out floors with large holes and cracks should be replaced as soon as possible. An abrasive mat can be placed on top of worn sections of flooring as well to help cover small cracks and holes.
Keep Walkways Clear
Walkways should be kept clear at all times from debris and objects. File cabinet doors should be shut when not in use and desk chairs pushed in.
Poor lighting can contribute to falling in the workplace. If lighting is dim, workers will have a hard time seeing any obstacles that may be in their way. Lighting should be bright and adequate when possible and burned out bulbs should be replaced immediately.
If the workplace surface consists of any steps, gaps, loose rock or gravel, or any uneven type ground then adequate signage should be placed warning people of the potential tripping hazard. Reflective tape marking these types of problem areas is another great way to bring attention to the hazardous area.
Proper Work Attire
Encourage workers to wear proper work attire and shoes in the workplace. For instance, fast food workers should be in nonslip shoes and construction workers should have good traction on their work boots. Baggy pants that hang past the shoes can also cause slipping and tripping hazards. Make sure the workers obey the safety dress code to keep them safe.
Ladders And Stairways
Stairways should have handrails attached to them to help prevent falling as well as be kept clear of obstacles. If workers use ladders frequently make sure the worker is competent to use them properly and knows how to position them and set them up with the proper balance.
By being proactive and following a few steps to prevent slips and falls, a workplace can be a safe place for both employees and customers.