Preventing Slip & Fall Accidents

by Lawton Brothers | Dec 06, 2018

Slip and falls are one of the leading causes of lost time in the workplace. These types of a accidents can happen almost anywhere, in any type of workplace. All it takes is one quick slip on a greasy floor, uneven flooring or a buckling floor mat to send an employee or a guest to your establishment to the hospital. With the risk of injuries ranging from a simple sprained injury to a more serious injury or even death, preventing slip and falls should be everyone’s main priority. It is critical for workers to know how to recognize and prevent slip and falls. Here are some ways to keep your establishment out of “slippery” situations.

Create Traction

It doesn’t take much for floors to become slick, especially in areas where there may be grease or oil present. Entrances can also present a high risk of slip and falls, especially when it’s raining or snowing outside, but using improper matting at an entrance can also lead to falls. One of the first lines of defense against slip and fall accidents is at the entrance to your establish. It is essential that you prevent slips by removing moisture from footwear. Mats should have a high-traction backing to prevent movement as well as be designed to absorb moisture from footwear. Mats should always be placed on a clean, dry surface and floor surfaces should be cleaned with no-skid waxes. If you are building new or remodeling, consider installing high traction flooring to create a non-slip surface.

Keep it Clean

A workplace that is clean is typically a safe workplace, so good housekeeping practices are essential for preventing accidents. Teach employees to take the time to remove boxes, cords, paper and clean up spills as soon as they occur. If the housekeeping habits of your establishment are poor, the result may be a higher incidence of injuries among employees as well as guests. One of the biggest risks to slip and fall accidents is grease and oil. It is essential to use cleaning tools and solutions that are designed to cut through the grease and grime—without leaving a slippery residue. Keep in mind that bleach is not a cleaner; it is a sanitizer, so using bleach on top of grease can create a slippery floor. Instead use cleaning products that cut through the grease and create high traction.

Block off Temporary Hazards

Instruct workers to never leave a spill unattended while they are getting a mop. Make sure someone is at the spill to direct guests around it, while someone else gets the cleaning materials. Place a “caution: wet floor” cone or sign by the spill and do not remove it until the area is clean and completely dry. For large areas use barricade tape and/or several cones to restrict access to the area. It is also important to post safety signs in high risk areas for employees to alert them of slip, trip and fall hazards and remind them to always check scaffolding and ladders to ensure safety.

Maintain Proper Lighting

Poor lighting in a workplace can significantly increase the risk of slip and falls for both employees as well as your guests. To reduce the risk of injury, use proper illumination in staircases, walkways, ramps and dock areas and keep all work areas clean and well lit. In areas that are poorly lit, make sure walkways are clear or clutter and all obstructions. Repair light fixtures, switches and cords immediately if they malfunction and use long-lasting, bright light bulbs. Remind workers that when entering a darkened room to always turn the light on first.

Training workers is the most critical factor in preventing slips and falls. Employees must wear the appropriate footwear at all times and shoelaces must be tied correctly. Controlling individual behavior is often difficult, but important. For instance, workers should be encouraged to not to run, use a cellphone or carry materials that will obstruct their vision.  One of the most essential things you can do to reduce the risk of slip and fall injuries is to train workers to use the right tools and cleaning products.

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