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5 Ways to Prevent Slip, Trip, and Falls at Workplace

06 July 2023

Almost everyone around you (including yourself) would have slipped, tripped, or fallen at least once in their lives. Slips, trips, and falls are common everyday occurrences that you may experience while at home, in school, or at work. Sometimes, it turns out to be an occasion for a good laugh by the bystanders, but in other instances, injuries from slips, trips, and falls can turn out to be quite dangerous.

It only takes a few seconds of inattention that can result in a slip on a wet floor, trip on an object, or fall down a flight of stairs, and the resulting injuries can range from simple bruises and minor muscle sprains to more severe injuries like fractures and muscle tear that may require more serious medical intervention.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, injuries resulting from slips, trips, and falls are the second leading cause of missed days at work. Moreover, around 25% of all injuries associated with trips, falls, and slips result in injury claims.

Data reveals that slips, trips, and falls account for

15% of all accidental deaths annually, following accidental deaths associated with motor vehicles,

25% of injury claims annually, and

A loss of over 95 million workdays every year.

Typically, slip and fall are often a result of loss of traction between the walking surface and the shoe. Moreover, the trip can result when there's accidental contact with a moveable or fixed object which may lead to a fall.

Some of the situations that can lead to slips, trips, and falls include;

Greasy or wet floor or dry floor with powder or dust or polished or freshly waxed floor,

Uneven walking surface, including flooring with loose carpets or mats or missing tiles and bricks,

Different types of flooring with uneven transitioning,

Sloped working surface, especially without handrails or other support,

Dirty shoes with greasy, oily, muddy, or wet soles,

Clutter along with walking surfaces ranging from debris to electrical cords and cables,

Weather hazards include rain, ice, hail, snow, frost, or wet leaves.

Now that you have an idea of what factors could contribute to slip, trip, and fall, let's look at some guidelines that will help you create a safer working environment that can reduce your risk of slipping, tripping, and falling at the workplace.



#1. Create and Maintain Regular Housekeeping Practices

Creating and maintaining good housing practices is critical to maintaining the safety of all employees against slips, trips, and falls. It ensures the safety of your workplace, as poor housekeeping practices at your organization can lead to higher employee injuries. As a result, poor housekeeping contributes to rising insurance costs. However, if your organization is noticeably clean and well-maintained, it can lower the risk of slips, trips, and falls and hence indicate good safety and effectiveness for your organization.

Regular housekeeping practices should be a regular part of the organization's maintenance and upkeep. It should be an ongoing procedure, and it's critical to create an appropriate housekeeping program.

If your organization doesn't have a housekeeping program, you can create a good housekeeping program in three simple steps.

Plan in Advance

Create a housekeeping plan well in advance. At an organizational level, you need to know what housekeeping practices you need to apply and who will be responsible for doing them. Moreover, you should also have an organization-wide program about what a particular work area would look like when housekeeping is done.

Assign Responsibilities to Specific Employees

Once you create an organization-wide plan on how you intend to keep the place and what housekeeping practices will be a part of the process, you must assign responsibilities to specific employees or a group of employees who will clean up. Moreover, at an organizational level, it's critical to encourage personal responsibility for cleaning up after oneself.

Implement the House Keeping Program

Ensure that good housekeeping procedures are a part of the everyday organizational routine.



#2. Manage Wet or Slippery Surfaces

Walking surfaces significantly contribute to the risk of slips, trips, and falls. Some of the types of surfaces that contribute to most injuries include

Sidewalks,

Shower areas,

Parking lots, and

Marble and tiled floors in general.

The friction on an outdoor surface can significantly change due to weather conditions. Some of these conditions include changes in moisture content on a pedestrian surface. Hence, there must be an investment in friction control procedures that can help enhance the effectiveness of parking lots and sidewalks.

Moreover, as weather changes and there is snow, ensuring good friction control procedure includes removing or treating these external elements. In some cases, it may be recommended to suspend the use of these areas for the public.

Furthermore, the use of anti-skid paint and adhesive striping material whenever possible can also serve as a measure to reduce the risk of slips, trips, and falls on wet or slippery surfaces.

Some of the measures to reduce the incidence of slips and falls on indoor surfaces including

Investment in moisture-absorbent mats with a backing material that doesn't slide on the floor,

Display of "wet floor" signs where applicable,

Use anti-skid adhesive tape in high-risk areas,

Implementation of good house-keeping practices and quick clean-up following spills, and

Use of specifically designed, non-skid mats and rugs for food preparation areas.



#3. Avoid Creating and Remove Obstacles in Walkways and Aisles

Trips resulting from clutter, obstacles, and materials on the walkways, aisles, and corridors are a major organizational safety concern. Hence, it's critical to ensure that there are proper housekeeping practices in place, especially in high-traffic areas, as it serves as one of the most effective control measures which can help reduce the risk of trips.

Moreover, it is also essential to have policies and procedures that allow for timely cleanup of all high-traffic areas of the office, especially in industrial settings where scrap material build-up is common in the work operation area.

By ensuring that the aisles, walkways, and hallways are clutter-free, you can contribute positively to reducing an organization-wide safety hazard.



#4. Create and Maintain Proper Lighting

One of the factors that can significantly contribute to slips, trips, and falls is poor or inadequate lighting in the workplace. When there is inappropriate lighting, it can result in compromised visual ability which is a major organizational hazard.

Therefore, you must ensure properly illuminated walkways, hallways, ramps, construction areas, staircases, and dock areas. Moreover, also ensure that all these work areas are well-lit at all times.

One of the other considerations to keep in mind include the following.

Upon entering a dark room, always turn on the light first,

When entering a brightly lit room from a darker area, allow your eyes to adjust to the brightness level before you move on,

Keep areas around light switches accessible,

Invest in overhead and task-specific lighting such as Black Metal Table Lamp BL1001 by Flexispot. Appropriate investment in lighting equipment reduces the risk of slips, trips, and falls while minimizing the risk of errors.

In case of failure of lighting fixtures and switches, repair them immediately.



#5. Invest in Appropriate Footwear

Apart from the friction on the floor, the other most critical factor contributing to the risk of slips, trips, and falls is the type of footwear you wear.

Ensure that the type of footwear you wear to work features soles and types of heels that can help avoid slips, trips, and falls. Moreover, if you are wearing laced shoes, ensure that you tie the shoelaces correctly, as improperly tied shoelaces can increase your risk of trips and falls.

If you are working in an industrial setting, you may be required to invest in safety shoes that protect your feet from all external factors that can injure your feet.

Remember Slips, Trips, and Falls are Preventable

While slips, trips, and falls may result from carelessness, the good news is that most accidents associated with slips, trips, and falls are preventable.

By taking proactive measures to ensure employee safety, such as practicing good housekeeping, managing slippery surfaces, removing obstacles from aisles and walkways, and maintaining adequate lighting, you can reduce the risk of slips, trips, and falls on an organizational level. Moreover, on an individual level, you can lower your risk of accidents by investing in appropriate footwear that protects your feet while reducing your risk of slips, trips, and falls.