Although the season is changing, the risk of injury from falling in the workplace is always the same. Slips and falls are two of the most common causes of major injuries at work. Falls are a hazard in all workplace settings, from simple acts like walking or climbing the stairs to climbing a ladder to changing a light fixture. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an estimated 212,760 workers were seriously injured by falls to the same or lower level. In addition, around 90 percent of these injuries often result in broken bones. Building cleaning and maintenance occupations are particularly at risk of fall injuries.
To prevent falls this fall – and in every season for that matter – here are three tips:
1. Keep floors clear and dry
Keep floors clear of tripping hazards and clutter. Clutter and miscellaneous cords can build up in areas and lead to potential injuries. Use cord organizers to bundle cords or tape cords to the floor. You may also consider using wall-mounted storage hooks, shelves, and hose spools to eliminate tripping hazards.
You can also reduce the likelihood of slip accidents by keeping floors dry. This usually occurs in kitchens and cafeterias and can be caused by ice machines, freezers, dishwashers, sinks, drains, soap dispensers, drinking fountains, and building entrances where rain and snow are tracked inside. Placing matting at all indoor entrances and high-traffic zones to prevent dirt and dust from being tracked in the building is also recommended. Mats are effective only if properly used and maintained, as old or poorly placed mats can contribute to slips, trips, and falls.
Optimal floor cleaning procedures may also prevent slips and falls, and research has shown that a two-step mopping process is better than damp-mopping.
2. Replace burned out bulbs and add lighting to dark areas
Inadequate lighting can impair one’s vision and his or her ability to see hazards. But proper lighting allows employees to see their surroundings and notice unsafe conditions in time to avoid them. Poorly lit areas may include storage rooms, hallways, and stairwells. To avoid this risk, install more lighting in areas where necessary and verify light bulbs have an appropriate brightness to ensure good visibility.
3. Use stepstools and ladders properly
Stepstools and ladders used to work from heights can create a hazardous situation if not used properly. Train employees on the proper use of ladders by maintaining three points of contact with the ladder at all times – two hands and one foot or one hand and two feet. Employees should also be required to wear closed-back shoes with significant tread on the soles to prevent slipping on ladder rungs or steps.
Check your workplace for these and other workplace hazards with the Slips, Trips, and Falls Checklist from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
These tips may seem obvious, but maintaining these simple solutions will help make a difference in the safety of your workplace.
For more information on facility safety, contact GCA Services Group at firstname.lastname@example.org.