Slips, trips and falls are a serious risk at workplaces, accounting for more than 8 million hospital emergency room visits every year. These kinds of injuries not only cause pain and frustration for workers, but can also result in lost days at work and potential lawsuits for employers.
That’s why it’s crucial for businesses to ensure that employees take multiple precautions to ensure their safety.
5 tips for preventing slips and falls for every business
Keep surfaces free of clutter
There are a multitude of reasons slips and falls can occur at work – from greasy, dusty or newly waxed floors to stray electrical cords or office clutter. To avoid these situations, a good housekeeping plan is critical, whether that is created by a paid service or a dedicated staff member. To make things easier, create a cleaning checklist and assign responsibilities to ensure that it becomes part of the daily routine. Be sure to also stock up on the necessary supplies or equipment. Use moisture absorbent mats with beveled edges at entrances, display wet floors signs as needed and clean up spills immediately.
Don’t forget to manage outside risks as well by keeping parking lots and sidewalks clean and in good condition. To help prevent trips and falls, use adhesive striping material and anti-skid paint and regularly shovel snow and ice in inclement weather.
Ensure well-placed lighting and signage
The right lighting makes a major difference when it comes to ensuring safety both in offices and factory environments. Without proper lighting, workers can misjudge the position, shape or speed of objects around them. Keep work areas well-lit in hallways, staircases, ramps, hallways, basements, construction areas and docks. According to Processing Magazine, there are four key ways to judge the safety of lighting:
- illuminance – the direction and strength of the light
- luminance – the amount of light reflected from a surface
- contrast – the relationship between the brightness of an object and its background
- reflectance – the ratio of light touching a surface to the amount of light reflected from a surface
If any of these four factors are not up to par in the workplace, lighting can be a safety hazard.
Check floor conditions
Another way to reduce safety hazards in offices or on the factory floor is to make sure your facility’s floors are properly maintained at all times. In addition to wet floors, worn tiles and floors with uneven textures (e.g., when changing from tile to concrete) can cause trip hazards as well. Consider having a specialty non-slip coating installed in floors that are particularly slick. Pay close attention to concrete floors, which can form cracks or planned joints that create uneven surfaces. If employees need to operate ride-on machinery, uneven surfaces can cause jostling that can increase worker fatigue and irritate back conditions.
Encourage proper footwear
Wearing the wrong type of shoes at work can spell disaster if employees are hurrying from one place to another and slip on a greasy or wet surface. The thickness of soles and types of heels worn should be evaluated to avoid mishaps. Shoelaces should always be securely tied and tucked in, if possible.
Whenever a fall occurs, footwear is usually evaluated to determine if it’s a factor. For particularly dangerous manufacturing environments, tempered steel-toe caps offer the best protection. Boot tongues that are gusseted and sewn to ensure that the midfoot is safe from falling debris are also helpful.
Create a safety culture
Ultimately, businesses that spend time creating and maintaining a strong safety culture for employees will experience fewer accidents like slips and falls. Steps to building that culture include defining responsibilities to ensure accountability, making sure that there’s a clear communication chain in the organization for reporting and addressing incidents and involve all employees in the planning and implementation of new safety initiatives.
Learn more about how to work safely in Wisconsin and connect with your local Rural Mutual agent to learn more about safety solutions for your business.