It happens to everyone. You stumble on an uneven surface. You slip on a slick floor. You fall down the stairs. You trip over excess material or equipment lying on the ground. Slips, trips and falls account for the vast majority of general industry accidents, according to the Department of Labor. Commonly used statistics show these hazards represent 15 percent of all accidental deaths every year and 25 percent of yearly injury claims. These hazards also cause more than 95 million lost work days annually, which comes to around 65 percent of all lost days of work.
There are numerous situations that can cause these accidents. Some of the following factors could lead to a mild to serious workplace slip, trip or fall: freshly waxed floors, uneven walking surfaces, clutter, electrical cables, weather hazards, metal surfaces, loose flooring, wet or greasy floors and sloped walking surfaces, according to Reliable Plant.
How can you make your workplace safer from slip, trips and falls?
While accidents are bound to happen, it is up to employers to ensure their workplaces are free from any preventable hazards to adequately keep their workers safe. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration enforces general walking/working surface standards for any permanent place of employment, except where agricultural, domestic or mining work occurs.
Furthermore, OSHA has specific regulations for general manufacturing, marine terminals, shipyard, longshoring and construction industries as well. Aside from just adhering to these standards, here are a couple of ways you can create a culture of safety in your workplace:
Don't wait until one of your employees slips, trips or falls to implement a safety program and protocol about what to do in the event of an accident. It's important to stay in compliance with OSHA regulations, but it's also essential to continually improve upon existing rules as well. This way, each one of your employees will know exactly what is expected of them in the event of an injury or death. Furthermore, offering safety training sessions is another way to stay in compliance and help your employees learn ways to identify and address hazards to stay safe.
Your training session can cover how employees should clean up and report spills, where to place wet floor signs and other procedures that will keep them and their coworkers safe from harm. Having employees sign a statement showing that they have received this training and understand the risks and how to address them is also important.
You should conduct periodic on-site walkway audits before any job begins to identify and eliminate any potential hazards your workers may encounter. With these audits, you will show OSHA that not only were you being proactive about employee safety, but you also have the documentation and safety procedures to prove you were being diligent.
"Slips, trips and falls represent 15 percent of all accidental deaths every year."
Eliminate slippery or wet surfaces
Some of the most frequent instances of slips, trips and falls in the workplace occur due to slippery or wet walking surfaces. To avoid this hazards, require workers to clean up all slips immediately, display "wet floor" signs and ensure that all your floor mats and signs are anti-slip. Even if your employees work in a moisture-heavy or risky environment, ensure that they are wearing protective footwear that further lessens their risk for falls on the job.
Many falls also occur because employees let their guard down or become distracted on the job. While you cannot prevent these instances, you can implement policies to keep employees from running, using their cell phones, talking shortcuts and being in a hurry, especially around wet or slippery areas. These simple measures may help prevent future slip, trip and fall accidents, and thus make your workplace a safe environment for your employees.
At Stranco, we understand how vital workplace safety is for your organization. We also realize that your floors are one of the better ways to identify potential hazards and convey vital safety information. This is why our anti-slip floor safety signs not only offer vibrant safety messages, but help prevent accidental falls. They are durable enough to withstand heavy foot traffic and adhere securely to most dry, clean surfaces. Contact one of our representatives today for more product information and pricing options.