Avoiding Slips, Trips and Falls
Slips, trips, & falls together represent one of the most frequent single causes of injury at work and at home. Falls alone, comprise a large and increasing proportion of accidental deaths in later life.
Rarely does anything happen as quickly as a fall. During a fall, our reflexes come into play and try to protect us. Often this quick muscular reaction can cause strains or sprains and, in some cases, body tension, which may result in a more serious injury than if the body were relaxed during the fall. Since we have no control over our reflex actions, it is wise to be aware of objects and conditions that cause falls.
Some of the most common causes of falls are objects left laying around and low protruding pipes, lumber, drawers and tool handles. Oil, water, and other liquids on walking surfaces are especially dangerous. Spills should be cleaned up immediately or absorbent material should be spread over the area to reduce the slipping hazard.
There are two ways to suffer a fall on your job and possibly sustain an injury from it. You can slip and lose your balance; you can trip over a floor defect or something improperly left or dropped in a walkway; or you can fall from a position in which you are being supported above the floor or ground.
To avoid slips and resulting falls, be on the lookout for foreign substances on the floor. Watch for deposits of water, coffee, food, grease, oil, soap, or debris. Even small quantities of these substances, sometimes almost too small to see, can be dangerous.
When you come into your work area from outdoors in rainy weather, wipe your shoes thoroughly on a doormat, not just to keep the floor clean, but to prevent the wetness of your shoes from making you slip and, perhaps fall. Another point about walking safely, don't turn too sharply when changing your direction.
If you're using a ladder, never overextend yourself while working on it. Make sure it's the proper length ladder. Don't climb on machines, stock, crates, or boxes. Be sure the ladder is in good condition. If you encounter any of these conditions, write a suggestion to your supervisor to have the situation corrected.
Stairways are meant for walking, not running. Use handrails, and if there is not enough light, report it. Wear shoes that allow better traction. Stairwells are to be kept uncluttered, with some sort of non-slip coating applied to the steps. Inform your supervisor if you notice a step that is slick. Maybe it needs a new coating of non-skid paint. You may be preventing yourself or co-workers from sustaining an injury.
Additional Tripping Hazard Considerations
Common tripping hazards are trash or unused material left in aisles or other areas intended for pedestrian traffic, extension cords across paths of travel, tools not put away, and holes or unevenness in the floor.
It will help keep passageways clean if you make sure trash or waste goes in the trashcan or recycling receptacle. You should be close enough to the receptacle, or it should be near enough to you that you couldn't miss it. If not, ask you supervisor to either reposition the ones you have or get some additional ones.
Walk where you are supposed to walk. Don't take shortcuts; especially don't take shortcuts through areas where its obvious pedestrian traffic is not intended to go.
Being alert is one of the surest ways to reduce injures caused by slips and falls. This includes being aware of your environment, personal safety, and the safety of co-workers. Be safety conscious, so that others do not suffer.
Always try and wear the best non-skid shoe possible, especially paying attention to bad weather. Shoes that have worn, slick soles should be not be worn. Avoid high heals during inclement weather. Select something that has a large surface area, which has good traction. If you work in an area where there is a lot of water, then pay special attention to brands that have superior anti-skid properties. Please bear in mind that your heath is the most important possession you have, once lost, it's impossible to replace. Act accordingly.