Safety In The Workplace: Avoiding Slips, Trips And Falls
Accidents due to slips, trips, and falls are one of the leading causes of injury in the workplace. In fact, when it comes to injury and death in the workplace, falls are second only to traffic accidents as a leading cause. Here’s some good advice for staying safe on the job, but it applies just as much to the home.
Falls are placed in two major categories: falls on the same level, and falls from different elevations. First, let’s talk about slips and falls from the same elevation.
You could slip on an icy walkway or parking lot, on a spot of oil or grease on the floor, a fruit peel left over from lunch, or even a piece of trash … the list is endless. We can avoid these hazards in many ways. The most common and useful tips are:
- Practice good housekeeping by keeping your work areas clean.
- Practice “situational awareness” by being alert to your surroundings.
Tripping is often caused by an irregular surface, hoses or electric cords across walkways, tools not in their proper place, poor lighting, and many others things. Virtually any item can catch your shoe or boot. The rules for avoiding trips are similar to those for slip prevention.
Falls caused by bumping into objects can result in serious injuries. We should be especially careful in hallways, dock areas, and places with blind corners. Usually, they happen when we’re in too much of a hurry. Maybe we’re running late, in a hurry to get home, or have a rush job we need to complete. In this rush, we go around a corner too fast, colliding with another person or piece of equipment.
Now let’s talk about falls from different elevations
They often result in more serious injuries than falls on the same level. These, too, can be caused by slipping and tripping, but can also be caused by many other factors such as misjudging a step, railing or grab bar, failing to use proper three-point contact when exiting a truck, faulty handrails, or simply stepping off a platform or ramp. You can probably name many more.
How To Fall
If you find yourself heading for a fall, the rule is: Roll, don’t reach! Let your body crumple and roll to absorb the impact of a fall. Trying to break your fall with an arm or leg may result in a broken limb instead.