A lot of companies may overlook the risks of slips, trips and falls in the workplace. Despite the recognized threats in the work area, safety precautions are taken lightly and not strictly executed. As a result, blinded slipping, tripping or falling, even if most of these incidents are considered minor, causes the most common injuries at work.
While risks may be at hand, some management would underestimate the capacity of a certain hazard at work. It may only be a wet floor, but the injuries following the accidents may lead to severe pain, broken bones and even death on the involved worker.
- What is a slip? There is a loss in balance due to the little traction or friction between the footwear or foot and the walking surface.
- What is a trip? There is a loss in balance when an object obstructs the foot or leg while moving.
- What is a fall? A person moves downward without any control of his body from a higher level to a lower level.
Common causes of slips, trips and falls in a workplace
- Spills on the floor
- Areas affected by weather creating hazards to the environment
- Loose mats and rugs on the floor
- Oily surfaces
- Wet areas
- No traction on walking areas
- Poor housekeeping
- Trailing cables and wires
- Open cabinet drawers
- Obstructed walkways
- Blocked view when walking
- Poor lighting on walkways and work areas
- Running on the halls
- Cracked pavements
- No proper training in the use of ladders or other elevated equipment
- Poor weather conditions
- No reliable equipment or gear when working in high places
- Poor stair railings for support
There are certain costs and consequences incurred when accidents happen in the workplace. Not only will the affected employee suffer the cost of getting injured but the company will face certain repercussions as well.
Costs of accidents in the workplace
- Severe accidents can lead to death and permanent disability in a worker.
- Increase of insurance premium.
- Added cost of hiring, training and replacement of affected worker, if needed.
- There is pain, potential depression and reduced quality of life for the affected worker.
- Compensation of the worker affected, leading to days without income.
Still, to addresses these accidents and minimize future instances, companies are required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to augment their safety and protection policies to ensure no accidents may happen due to slips, trips and falls.
Tips on how to prevent slips, trips and falls in the workplace
- Implement proper safety footwear when at work. Non-slip shoes with traction are ideal footwear at work. It will help avoid slipping or sliding on the floors and enable the worker to move properly. Footwear must also be comfortable for efficiency at work.
- Maintain cleanliness at work. Workstations must be free of potential triggers or influences of risks to minimize damage and threat in the work environment. Spills and wet areas must be cleaned immediately.
- Use temporary signs and blocks for wet and hazardous areas. Spills, damaged floors and other safety risks may not be avoided. To prevent accidents, temporary barricades and signs must be placed to alert employees of the dangers in front of them.
- Do regular inspection on different areas in the workplace. Hire a team to conduct weekly walkthroughs of different places in the workplace and see to it that these areas are evaluated based on a high standard of safety criteria. Regular inspection must also include immediate reporting of hazards.
- Ask your employees to submit observations regarding the safety and cleanliness of their workplaces. Since they are working in these areas, they may have observed several risks that can threaten their workflow. You can also inquire for their suggestions how to minimize these risks and maintain safety for the workplace.
- Train employees about safety in the workplace. Hire a safety expert to organize a seminar on how employees can work together in maintaining the security of each person. Reiterate that the safety at work relies not just on polices but also on everyone working as a team and becoming accountable with each other.