How You Can Avoid Slips, Trips, and Falls

According to OSHA, slips, trips, and falls cause the majority of general industry accidents. In fact, they’re the reason for 15% of all accidental deaths, second only to motor vehicle fatalities. As surprising as that is, slips, trips, and falls can be avoided with preparation, care, and attention to your surroundings.

Slips, trips, and falls can be caused by a wide variety of things. From slippery, uneven floors, to icy conditions, to workplace clutter. They can all be prevented.

One way to minimize the risk of slippery floors is to implement two-step mopping. Rather than simply damp mopping, first apply a cleaning solution, then rinse. This method is much more effective, and may reduce slipping. For those areas that are consistently slick, workers should wear footwear with slip-resistant soles.

To reduce the risk of slips and trips on uneven floors, it’s important to replace or re-stretch loose or buckled carpet, and remove or replace indented or blistered vinyl tile. Smooth flooring in areas that are exposedto water, grease, and/or slippery matter should be replaced with a rougher- surface floor. Plus, by patching or filling cracks in walkways that are larger than one half inch wide, highlighting changes in elevation with safety yellow warning paint, and covering or highlighting underground watering system structures, you’ll greatly reduce the risk of potential injuries.

Rain, snow, and ice can also cause slips, trips, and falls. Even these weather- related conditions can be easily managed by providing additional mats; promptly removing snow and ice from walkways, garages, and parking lots; and placing bins of ice-melting products in outdoor pedestrian traffic areas. Posting the maintenance department’s contact information will allow workers to report slippery conditions.

In addition to floor surface hazards, inadequate lighting can be dangerous by making it difficult to see hazards. Installing more light fixtures and/or brighter bulbs in poorly lit areas, and installing light fixtures that emit light from all sides can help reduce or eliminate the hazards.

Tripping hazards can be caused by general clutter; loose cords, hoses, and wires; and worn or improperly used floor mats. These hazards can be minimized or eliminated simply by using wall-mounted storage hooks, shelves, and hose spools; marking walkways and keeping them clear; covering cords on the floor with beveled protective covers; and replacing mats that are curled, ripped, or worn.

Poorly designed stairs and handrails can lead to falls in the workplace and at home. To make stairs safer, add slip-resistant treads and nosing to the entire tread, and place handrails at the height of 34 to 38 inches from the stepping surface. Handrails should extend the full length of the stair, plus 12 inches at the top and one tread depth at bottom, to provide a sturdy grip.

Slip, trip, and fall hazards can easily be minimized, and even eliminated with a little work and vigilance. We have a large variety of products to help reduce those hazards. If you have questions, give our Technical Support Reps a call at 800.922.8553, or email techsupport@northernsafety.com. They’re here to help you!

Northern Safety Co., Inc.
PO Box 4250. Utica, NY 13504-4250
Phone: 1-800-571-4646
Fax: 1-800-635-1591

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