Slip, Trip, and Fall Prevention

Slip, Trip, and Fall Prevention

Slip, trip, and fall events are among the most common workplace incidents, somewhere between a quarter and a third of all workplace incidents are slip, trip, and fall related. These events can cause serious injuries, resulting in time off work and worker’s compensation costs. According to the National Safety Council, the average slip, trip, or fall incident was almost $50,000!  In some cases, slip, trip, and fall incidents can even be fatal. As an employer, it is your responsibility to ensure that your workplace is safe for your employees. In 29 CFR 1910.22, OSHA sets forth some details pertaining to workplace walking-working surfaces such as:

  • Floors should be maintained in a clean and dry condition, and where wet processes are used, proper drainage applied, and the use of floor mats.
  • Floors should be free of hazards, such as sharp or protruding objects, loose boards, corrosion, leaks, spills snow, and ice
  • Floors surfaces shall be inspected regularly and maintained in a safe condition
  • Hazardous conditions shall be corrected and repaired, and/or safeguarded, and barricaded until repairs can be completed.

Here are some tips to prevent slip, trip, and fall incidents in your workplace.

  1. Keep floors clean and dry
    As an employer, you are responsible for keeping your workplace clean and tidy. Make sure that the floors are free of spills, debris, and obstructions. If you have a spill, make sure to clean it up immediately and put up a warning sign to prevent others from slipping. Use quality floor cleaning products as well as floor traction-enhancing products that have been NFSI certified. Don’t forget areas of the workplace that might be subject to snow and ice and have a clean and removal plan in place.
  2. Use non-slip mats
    Use non-slip maps in areas that are prone to getting wet, like entranceways, kitchens, and restrooms. The mats will help absorb water and prevent employees from slipping. Use floor mats that have been NFSI certified for the purpose (water-absorbing, oil-absorbing, etc.). Floor mats can create a hazard as well. Here are a few tips to watch out for:

    • Use quality floor mats that lay completely flat
    • Replace a wet mat with a dry mat as soon as possible
    • Do not stack floor mats on top of each other
    • Clean floor mats often and do not place them back down on a wet surface
    • Do not store floor mats “rolled up” – this will cause the edges to wrinkle
    • Use a “brush” type mat at the exterior entrance and a “wipe-off” mat at the interior
    • Do not use a floor mat to cover electrical cords or as a wedge to keep a door open
  3. Ensure proper lighting
    Poor lighting can make it difficult for employees to see potential hazards on the floor and increase the likelihood of a slip, trip, or fall incident. Make sure that all areas of your workplace are well-lit, especially stairways and walkways.
  4. Stairs, Ramps, and Elevation Changes
    Ensure that stair steps are in good condition and provide non-slip, well-contrasted step edges to prevent slips and falls. Stairs must be equipped with a handrail when there are 4 or more steps. However, a best practice is to maintain a handrail for all stairs or steps. Ramp surfaces should be non-slip and include guardrails on both sides. As a best practice, elevation changes should be contrasted as a visual cue to foot traffic.
  5. Provide proper footwear
    Proper footwear can help prevent slip, trip, and fall incidents in the workplace. Require employees to wear slip-resistant shoes or boots with good traction. To enhance your position and control of required footwear, implement a corporate shoe program (SR MAXShoes for Crews), and yes, you should conduct employee shoe inspections routinely.
  6. Train employees on safe practices
    Train your employees on safe practices when it comes to slip, trip, and fall prevention. This could include teaching them to walk carefully on wet floors, reminding them not to run or rush around the workplace, holding handrails on stairs, and instructing them to clean up spills immediately and report any hazards right away.

    • Note: Upon finding a spill or damaged floor surface, train employees to stay at the location unless they are able to barricade off the area. Do not leave the area until the spill or hazard has been addressed.
  7. Conduct regular inspections
    Regularly inspect your workplace for any hazards that could cause a slip, trip, or fall event. Make sure to address any issues promptly.
  8. Cord, cable, and wire management
    Ensure that cords, cables, and wires are not placed across floors and aisles. Look for safe alternatives (additional electrical outlets, install floor outlets, use aerial recoil extension cords, etc.). If they must lay across walking surfaces, properly secure and cover cords, cables, and wires with a highly visible cover designed for that purpose.

    • Note: Don’t forget proper cord, cable, and wire management underneath workstations. There are plenty of securement options available in the marketplace

By implementing these prevention measures, you can help reduce the likelihood of slip, trip, and fall incidents in your workplace. Ensuring that your employees are safe is good for morale, productivity, your insurance rates, and your bottom line.

 

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