One of the most common types of workplace accidents – slips, trips, and falls – can easily lead to lost productivity and high compensation costs. Did you know slips, trips, and falls cause roughly 25% of all injuries that result in days away from work?
But these accidents are completely preventable! And as the General Duty Clause states, employers are required to maintain “a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.”
Five Solutions for Reducing Slips, Trips, and Falls
Maintaining floors and providing proper footwear are great first steps to preventing these hazards, but some common causes of slips and trips – wet or greasy floors, irregular steps, uneven working surfaces, cables, wires, clutter, etc. – may need some extra attention.
A yellow, A-frame Slippery When Wet sign is one of the most universally recognizable safety signs. It’s beneficial to have a few of these signs on hand for when a spill is being cleaned up, the floor is drying, or to station in parking lots and by sidewalks affected by weather hazards.
Additionally, you may find the need to post more permanent signs in the area. For example, there may be areas known to be a tripping hazard and a safety sign works as an effective reminder for workers. Around equipment known to spray, leak, or drip, installing a CAUTION: Floor May Be Slippery floor sign will alert even those unfamiliar with your facility of a potential hazard.
Slips and falls are caused, for the most part, as a result of a loss of traction between shoe and the walking surface or accidental contact with a fixed or movable object. Adding additional traction to the floor will ensure everyone stays on their feet. This could mean getting new floors or coating your floors with an anti-slip substance, but our personal favorite is installing non-slip industrial floor tape.
This tape is backed with extra strength adhesive that will survive in even the harshest environments. With a roll of non-skid floor marking tape, you can cut strips to add traction to stairs, prevent slips on metal surfaces, or delineate slippery areas. Going with anti-slip tape gives you the option of flexibility at a more convenient price range.
Managing the wires in your facility improves electrical safety and productivity – but it also keeps people from tripping up on a mess of tangled cables. Try to plug all equipment in as close as possible to the wall. If there are numerous cables going to one outlet, be sure these cables are separated and properly labeled.
In some cases, there is no way to avoid a cable being ran across a work area or station. In these situations, using tape to cover the cord or posing safety signs might be your best option. Be sure these cords are kept out of aisleways or walkways, you may need to use cable hooks to collect and secure all the wires. Many people don’t immediately think of their facility cables has a danger but utilizing some simple organization tools can mitigate hazards.
It’s critical all spills and leaks are taken care of, even just a little bit of oil on the ground can result in major injuries. Employers and safety managers should put together a spill containment plan for dealing with spills right away. Some machines will leak or overspray – for these smaller leaks, place absorbent towels or absorbent pads to soak up any unnecessary drips.
When it comes down to it, spill containment is all about preparation. Spills are never a scheduled event, but the more prepared you are to respond to a spill, the less chance there is an employee will slip or otherwise injure themselves. You will want to take a tour of your facility determine all possible spill hazards and identify the type of substance(s) at risk – this will decide the type of spill kits you’ll need. Stock up on spill kits, berms, drain covers, and make sure all spill containment supplies are easily accessible. You can easily prevent slips by providing the tools and training workers need to quickly respond to spills.
Poor housekeeping typically results in a higher rate of employee injuries; excess clutter is a major tripping hazard. Decluttering the space might be a big project to tackle but establishing a Lean system like a 5S program keeps the space tidy while dramatically improving productivity.
In order to ensure the success of 5S, you must create a system for routine cleaning and maintenance. Make sure workers understand their role in keeping the workplace tidy and standardize maintenance to sustain improvements.
The statistics for slips, trips, and falls in the workplace may seem staggering, but the truth is these accidents are preventable. Adding a few safety signs or installing traction tape won’t break the bank, but a serious injury might. Employers and safety managers need take the effort to identify all potential hazards and come up with a safety plan to address each one. Let us help! Creative Safety Supply offers effective and durable solutions for slips, trips, and falls and safety experts to help answer your questions.
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