Preventing Workplace Falls: Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls on the Job
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been concentrating on keeping workers safe from falls on the job of late. But not all falls that cause injury are from high places. Slips, trips and falls are the third most common cause of workplace injuries, in part because they can happen anywhere, if precautions aren’t taken.
Employers and workers can, however, take some simple steps to prevent such accidents from occurring. The National Safety Council (NSC) has come up with five steps all workplaces can take to keep falls to a minimum and keep a workplace safe.
Keep Work Areas Tidy, Clean and Organized
Keep things off the floor as much as possible, to prevent tripping. When items are scattered around the floor, not only are they harder to find, but accidents are more likely to happen. Assign regular cleaning and other maintenance tasks to workers and give clear instructions as to how the work area should look when they’re done.
Always Watch Out for Wet, Slippery Surfaces
Keep the floors and other surfaces as dry as possible. Place moisture absorbing mats near all doorways and bathrooms and other areas where water may splash, and put backing on them to prevent them from sliding. Place signs around wet areas and make sure workers are trained to clean up all spills immediately.
Remove Obstacles from Stairs, Aisles and Walkways
There should always be a clear path from point A to point B in any workplace, especially when it comes to emergency exits. Stairwells and aisles are not for storage. Be sure all wires and cables in the workplace are neatly coiled or taped to the floor, and as close to a wall as possible. They should be tucked under stationary fixtures as much as possible and never stretched across an aisle or walkway. Drawers, whether they are part of a desk, file cabinet or toolbox, should always be properly closed after each use. Repair loose or broken tiles or holes in carpets as soon as possible, and repair steps immediately. All rugs and carpets should be tacked down.
Install and Maintain Appropriate Lighting
The best way to prevent slips, trips and falls is to make sure workers can see where they’re going, and any obstacles that might be in their way. Therefore, make sure very area of the workplace is well lit, especially ramps, hallways and staircases. Immediately replace bulbs that burn out, and repair broken fixtures and cords.
Where Necessary, Require Certain Shoes
There may be certain areas of the workplace that are just slippery, and there isn’t much that can be done to prevent it, such as food service areas and auto shops. In those cases, workers should be required to wear special footwear designed to give them more traction in such situations.
OSHA and Texas state law require that employers keep workplaces as safe as possible, and that they take steps to make sure workers do not get injured on the job.