Although we’ve seen it in the cartoons and in the movies a million times, not many people actually slip on banana peels. But while the results may produce a few chuckles in the theater, falls are nothing to laugh at. In fact, some estimates put the number of disabling injuries resulting from falls at over 30,000 per year. The number of deaths is close to 12,000 a year. About one in 10 of these deaths happen in the workplace.
There are various ways to suffer slips and falls while working. You can slip and lose your balance, you can trip over objects left improperly in your walkway, or you can simply fall from an elevated position above the ground. Most injuries resulting from falls aren’t caused by falls from overhead, as you might think. They are from falls at ground or floor level where we walk and work.
Housekeeping is fundamental in all work areas to prevent slips, trips, and falls. This is probably the most important thing you can do to prevent this type of accident.
To Prevent Slips, Trips, and Falls:
Keep walkways, aisles, and stairs free of tools, materials, and other hazards.
Clean up any leaks or spills on floors, stairs, entranceways, and loading docks promptly.
- Repair or report floor problems, such as broken planks, missing tiles, etc.
- Block off and mark floor areas that are being cleaned or repaired.
- Keep cords, power cables, and air hoses out of walkways.
- Place trash promptly in proper containers.
- Keep drawers closed. Take precautions on stairs and dock edges.
- Report missing or broken stair rails and slippery or damaged treads.
- Walk, don’t run, on stairs. Hold onto stair rails while going up and down.
- Don’t jump on or off platforms and loading docks and stay away from edges.
- Don’t carry a load you can’t see over, especially on stairs or around dock edges.
Pay Attention to Your Movements and Surroundings:
- Focus on where you’re going, what you’re doing, and what lies ahead.
- Expect the unexpected.
- Take responsibility for fixing, removing, or avoiding hazards in your path.
- Wear sturdy shoes with non-skid soles and flat heels.
- Avoid baggy or loose pants you could trip over.
- Walk, don’t run.
- Wipe your feet when you come in from rain or snow.
- Report or replace any burned out lights or inadequate lighting.
- Watch out for floors that are uneven, have holes, etc.
- Keep your hands at your sides, not in your pockets, for balance.
- Don’t carry loads you can’t see over.
- Walk slowly on slippery surfaces. —Slide your feet and avoid sharp turns.
- Sit in chairs with all four legs on the floor.
- Make sure all wheels or casters are on the floor.
- Be constantly alert for—and remove or go around—obstructions in your path.
Preventing Slips, Trips, and Falls:
- Report any lighting problems. This goes for inside and outside. Falls can happen just as easily in the parking lot as on the shop floor. We can prevent at least some of them by making sure we can all see where we’re going.
- Report any hazardous floors. If there are loose items, torn carpets, broken or loose floor boards, or bumps or cracks in the concrete surfaces, let the appropriate person know.
- If you are involved in any clean-up operations, please, mark off slippery floors.
- If you notice a spill or greasy surface, clean it up or report it to someone who can clean it.
- Never ever run cords, cables, or hoses across high-traffic areas. If it can’t be avoided, make sure the area is marked off.
- Report any special hazards that may be lurking in stairwells or in other areas of the facility. These include loose or missing ladder rungs or dangerous areas on the loading dock.
Preventing slips and falls has to be a team effort. Walking around a spill or stepping over an open drawer might keep you safe, but what about the next person who walks by?
By correcting the hazard or reporting it, you keep not only yourself safe, but your co-workers as well.
A SPILL…A SLIP…A HOSPITAL TRIP!
Download flyer: SMOTW_602_Slips, Trips, and Falls
Download Spanish flyer: SMOTW_602_Slips, Trips, and Falls_esp