Mark A. Simon
Preventing Personal Injury in Denver from Slips, Trips, and Falls
Slipping, tripping, or falling on the job is one of the most common causes of personal injury that can even result in death. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Department of Labor’s blog, fatal slips, trips, and falls in the workplace were up 10 percent in 2014 from the previous year, and the same type of accidents accounted for around 27 percent of cases involving days away from work. But is there anything you can do to prevent such accidents and avoid the personal injury, stress, legal and medical considerations, and lost productivity as a result?
Potential Hazards: The first goal is to identify immediate situations that could cause a slip, trip, or fall in the workplace. Here are just some of the potential hazards to watch out for:
- Loose or curling carpeting or mats
- Sloped or uneven surfaces
- Freshly cleaned, polished, or wet floors
- Weather hazards such as snow, ice, or puddles
- Ramps without skid-resistant surfaces
- Damaged steps or stairs without handrails
- Missing floor tiles or bricks
- Exposed cords and cables
- Desk or cabinet drawers opened into the middle of walkways
Prevention: The second goal is to create an environment on the job that helps to prevent a slip, trip, or fall. Here are three easy-to-implement ideas:
- Keep it clutter-free – Making sure your office or facility is neat and free of clutter and obstacles creates a safer environment. Plan for how your own workspace should look when clutter-free and take steps to keep it that way. While you may not be responsible for cleaning and housekeeping for the entire office or facility, it’s important to be alert to the potential hazards noted above, take measures to prevent them in your own area, and let managers know if you do continually see clutter and the presence of unsafe obstacles.
- Keep it well-lit – Another contributing factor to slips, trips, and falls is poor lighting. You and your fellow employees are more likely to trip in a dim stairwell, hallway, or room, or be unable to notice other safety hazards underfoot. Turn lights on in your work space and ask that they be kept on in halls, stairwells, basements, and docking areas. When entering a room, always turn the light on first, and make sure that light switches are kept clear for easy access.
- Wear appropriate footwear – Because slips, trips, and falls can often be attributed to personal footwear, make it your responsibility to wear shoes with sturdy, slip-free soles or other appropriate footwear for your particular role. As well, make sure your shoelaces are tied. And because slips, trips, and falls are often the result of a lack of traction between you and the surface you’re walking on, always check if your shoe soles are wet, muddy, or oily, and clean them off as necessary.