Falling, Slipping, and Tripping: Your Guide to Preventing the Most Common Workplace Injuries
If you’re the owner or manager of a given workplace, you’re likely concerned with preventing as much on-site injury as possible. However, keeping your employees safe is only part of the equation. You also want customers, service people and other outside visitors to your facility to be safe as well.
Falling, slipping and tripping are without a doubt some of the most critical things you’ll want to prevent. Not only can they happen at anyfacility or workplace, but they can happen to anyone, even if they’re incredibly careful. Slips, trips and falls can also add up to untold expenses in safety fines, lost business, lost productivity and even potential lawsuits. Here’s how to make sure your facility is as protected against these preventable mishaps as possible.
Put a Stop to Slipping
Of course, no one wants to slip, fall and hurt themselves, but it could still happen for any number of reasons. Industrial or work-related spills can leave potentially hazardous puddles of oil, water or other liquids behind. Alternatively, mud, ice, snow or moisture from outside can be tracked inside with relative ease.
Here are some measures to put into place to prevent slips:
- Install Anti-Slip Mats: Installing anti-slip mats at all building entrances is the best way to make sure moisture isn’t brought in from outside. They should also be installed anywhere within the facility where spills are likely to occur, including employee break areas or work areas. Industrial grade slip mats with drainage capabilities can help make warehouse environments safer as well.
- Proper Footwear: In working environments where slipping is likely (for instance factories or warehouses), make sure employees wear slip-resistant footwear that adheres to strict safety standards at all times.
- Appropriate Equipment: Should a spill occur, make sure on-site personnel have the equipment they need to make short work of it in a safe manner. Shop vacs, mops, cones and floor signs are just a few examples.
Eliminate Trip Hazards
Most on-site trip incidents are caused by unnecessary clutter and/or insufficient visibility. Look for ways you can streamline your workplace to reduce the likelihood of it happening at your facility.
- Provide Adequate Storage Space: There should not only be designated places for everything, but enough of them. Make sure your team members have adequate space to store personal items like bags, purses or coats to keep items from piling up where they don’t belong. Make sure trash cans and waste bins are not only plentiful, but are also emptied regularly.
- Maintain a Secure Workspace: Work areas and walkways should be kept as clear of unnecessary objects and items as possible. Make sure all tools and equipment are put away immediately after use. Ensure that your facility set-up never requires extension cords to run across hallways or walking areas. Set and enforce rules that boxes and other containers (either full or empty) are never allowed to pile up for any reason.
- Install Adequate Lighting: More often than we care to think about, tripping occurs not because a hazard was located somewhere it shouldn’t be, but because lighting is poor. Make sure all hallways, walkways and work areas feature bright lighting that doesn’t create dangerous shadows or dark areas that might conceal spills or objects.
- Be Mindful of Holes: Make sure that any necessary openings or holes in your flooring are adequately covered or barricaded to protect employees and other passersby from falling or tripping. Make sure damage to flooring is repaired promptly and completely.
Put a Stop to Dangerous Falls
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), on-site falls are one of the leading causes of injury when it comes to construction sites. Falls can happen on any worksite, though, and not just the ones attached to industries that involve working at great heights.
- Sturdy Equipment: Make sure all equipment is sturdy, of good quality and kept in excellent condition at all times. (This goes for everyday items like ladders and stepstools, just as it does scaffolding and other similar equipment.) Always buy your professional equipment, machinery and safety wear from reputable sources that place a high premium on safety. Have it checked and serviced regularly. Replace it and upgrade it on schedule and without hesitation. Reliable safety equipment is an investment in your company and should be treated as such.
- Proper Equipment: Never allow employees to improvise when it comes to the equipment used for a given job. If a given task calls for an industrial-grade ladder, for instance, a smaller wooden ladder propped up against a wall or shelf is not an acceptable alternative. Always make sure you have the right safety equipment for the job installed and/or provided.
- Prioritize Fall Protection: Fall protection isn’t just for construction workers. It should be used in any situation that requires employees to work above the level of the ground or the floor. Regulations vary from industry to industry. Construction workers must use fall protection when working at heights of 6 feet or above, while for general industry, it’s 4 feet. Make sure fall protection equipment (and safety wear overall) is up to date and comfortable to wear. The easier fall protection is to use, the lower the likelihood of employees will get into the habit of wearing it inconsistently. The same goes for personal protective equipment like goggles, hazard suits and the like.
Running a Safe Facility Successfully
Thorough and frequent training is also a must when it comes to any facility’s safety program, as it can drastically reduce the likelihood of injury. Of course, all new employees should be fully oriented and trained, but ongoing training should also be a priority. (This includes refresher courses for long-time employees.) New equipment and safety upgrades, for instance, also call for a fresh round of training.
When purchasing industrial equipment for your facility, it’s also important to buy from the right sources. Choose an option like SafeRack that specializes in providing modern facilities with trustworthy, efficient safety equipment across multiple industries.
Read more about safety tips in construction.