The workplace can be dangerous, whether a construction site or an office. It is full of potential hazards, from loose material to icy conditions, and you need to be careful while doing your job so you can get home safely every night.
Unfortunately, accidents happen, and it is usually preventable. The most common accidents while on the job are slips, trips, and falls with injuries like bruises, sprains, lacerations, concussions and even broken bones.
Is there anything we can do to mitigate the carnage? Here is how to prevent workplace slips, trips, and falls.
1. Recognize Workplace Hazards
We all move around during our work day, and it’s important to watch out for potential hazards. Taking the time to walk carefully and recognize hazards will save injuries and potential time loss. The most common are:
- Uneven walking surfaces
- Wet floors
- Missing handrails
- Electrical cords
- Various weather hazards like rain, snow and ice
- Greasy floors
- Dry floors with dust
- Inclined walking areas like ramps and gangplanks
Slip and fall hazards can lead to injury lawsuits, which necessitate legal complications. You will need to consult an Ajax personal injury lawyer for help. However, the best practice is to avoid lawsuits by minimizing hazards around the workplace. Both the employer and the employee must equally take responsibility for fall prevention.
- Give instruction and information for safe work practices and potential hazards
- Establish controls to eliminate exposure to tripping hazards
- Making sure these controls are working
- Provide signage for wet/icy floors or uneven walking surfaces
- Make regular inspections of the workplace to ensure a safe environment
- Conduct regular safety meeting
- Report any hazards to your supervisor or employer
- Practice regular workplace housekeeping of material and equipment
- Clean up any spills right away
- Wear all required protective gear for the job
- Report any slips, trips or falls regardless if there is a noticeable injury
2. Wear Proper Footwear
The first way to protect yourself from an accident is by wearing the proper footwear according to the environment you are working in. If you work in an office, it ranges from dress shoes to athletic shoes. For a construction site, you need to wear steel-toed boots. Regardless of the type, your footwear should be in great shape.
Make sure your shoes or boots have good treads for maximum traction. This will help you more when walking on a slippery surface. Also, make sure your shoes are laced up tight because if you step on an uneven surface, you can roll your ankle and fall. You also don’t want laces dangling out as they could get caught on something, or you could step on them and trip.
3. Clear Clutter from Walking Surfaces
Most jobs require you to move around, even if it is just walking from your desk to the washroom. If the walking areas are cluttered with equipment or supplies, this becomes a hazard. In a warehouse environment or construction site, material and garbage build up fast, so it’s important to have daily housekeeping in work areas and walkways to ensure you don’t trip and fall. Also, keep briefcases, boxes, tools and power cords stowed safely out of the way.
4. Clean up Spills and Slippery Surfaces
A large portion of slip, trip and fall accidents are from walking surfaces that are wet or icy. This includes walkways, parking lots, food prep areas and outdoor job sites. Anywhere you can be dangerous, so it’s best to inspect walking surfaces daily, report icy conditions, and clean up spills immediately. You can also install abrasive slip strips on stairs and ramps and use moisture-absorbent mats where necessary.
5. Adequate Lighting
Another reason for slips, trips and falls is when you don’t see the hazard and walk into it. This can be from poor lighting conditions in your workspace.
Make sure there is proper illumination in your work area or walking paths between work areas. Set up temporary lighting if you work outside before dawn and after dusk, and keep all lights on in your office, warehouse or another indoor workspace while on the job. If there are electrical issues, ensure they are repaired before working in the area.
Stairways are a common place to have an accident caused by icy or slippery conditions, clutter or an uneven surface. Even if the stairway is in perfect condition, you can still fall if you are distracted or in a hurry.
Ensure there are hand railings on all steps. Even a small transitional height or a few steps should have a handrail for support.
We spend a third of our day at work, and while we trade time for money, we want to be safe. Follow these guidelines to prevent workplace slips, trips, and falls. This way, you can be a productive worker to benefit your employer and yourself and be free from any injury resulting from an accident.