One of the leading causes of workplace injuries each year is from slips, trips or falls, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The federal agency reports that 15% of all work-related fatalities throughout the United States are the result of a slip, a trip or a fall. These types of accidents may be prevented with a little care and caution.
Many factors can be cited for the cause of these incidents. Some of the most common are:
- Uneven floor surfaces
- Wet or slick floors
- Damaged or worn flooring
- Walkway obstructions
- Changes in levels
- Poor lighting
Additionally, cluttered work areas may also contribute to these types of accidents. Because of slips, trips and falls, workers may suffer sprains and strains, broken bones, head trauma and numerous other potentially serious injuries.
Using these OSHA tips may help reduce the risk:
- Wear appropriate footwear – Some flooring surfaces may be slick on their own, while others may become incredibly slippery when they are wet or there is dry product on them. It may seem the primary concerns when choosing footwear should be comfort, support and fashion. However, consider shoes’ soles and traction. Wearing shoes that are slip-resistant may grip slick or slippery floors much better.
- Cover or guard all floor openings – In some work environments, there may be stairway floor openings, pits, trapdoors, chutes, hatchways and other openings. Ensuring that all stairway floor and other openings are guarded by railings on all exposed sides may help prevent workers from falling into them. Additionally, place guards on all chute and hatchway openings, and cover any pit or trapdoor openings if they are not in use. When pits and trapdoors are being used, it is important their openings are attended by a worker at all times in order to warn others of the danger.
- Turn the lights on – It goes without saying that if you cannot see where you are going or what you are doing, you may be more likely to slip on something, trip over something or fall down. Therefore, use a light source that provides adequate lighting to perform properly. If working in a dark or dimly lit space, using a flashlight may help shed some light on the area and avoid some work-related accidents.
- Good housekeeping – Regardless of the environment, clutter can cause more than just headaches to find the proper tools. If there is debris, tools or other objects cluttering the workplace, workers could slip on them or trip over them.
- Avoid distractions – Many people are dialing into their mobile and other devices while at work. While this may be a part of the job, it may create issues in the workplace if you are not watching where you are going. If you are texting or reading information on a mobile device as you are walking, you may not see co-workers, spills, equipment or other hazards that could cause you to slip, trip or fall. It is advisable to avoid behaviors that may distract you, such as text messaging or checking your social media while you are walking.
Founded in 1925, CopperPoint Insurance Companies is a leading provider of workers’ compensation and commercial insurance solutions operating in six southwestern states. To learn more about our insurance products and find resources to better manage your risks, explore our website or contact your independent insurance agent.