One of the most common causes of workplace accidents in Pennsylvania is slips and falls. In fact, Injury Facts 2012 Edition states that falls lead to more than 8.7 million emergency room visits in the United States each year.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, a slip or fall injury at work costs about $28,000 on average in workers’ compensation and personal injury claims. That is why employees and employers alike have an interest in preventing falls in the workplace.
In effort to raise awareness, the National Safety Council launched Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls Week. As part of the week-long campaign, the council released several tips on preventing falls in the workplace.
1. Practice good housekeeping. It’s just as important to pick-up around the workplace as it is at home. When things like papers, books or tools begin to pile up, it creates a tripping hazard. In order to practice good housekeeping in the workplace, it’s best to have a plan to establish who is going to do what.
2. Clean up spills or leaks. Some floors can get extremely slippery when wet, which could lead to serious slips and fall. That’s why it’s important to clean-up wet surfaces right away. If a floor has to be wet for cleaning purposes, make sure everyone is the area is warned with signs and a memo.
3. Keep walkways, aisles and stairways clear. Trip injuries are common in narrow spaces that are cramped with equipment or office supplies. Loose cords, hoses and cables can also cause a major tripping hazard. To prevent this, work areas, passageways, storerooms and service areas should be kept clean and orderly.
4. Put an emphasis on lighting. Many workplace falls occur in dimly lit areas. All work areas, entrances and passageways should be kept at all times so people can see where they are stepping. Stairs are especially dangerous if not well-lit.
5. Encourage proper footwear. One of the biggest things employers can to prevent falls is to encourage their employees to wear proper shoes on the job. Employees should also be careful of untied shoes, a common cause of trips and falls.
Source: Coast River Business Journal, “5 tips to prevent slips, trips and falls at work and home,” June 19, 2012