The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, requires us to provide a safe workplace that is free of recognized hazards, including hazards that lead to slips, trips, and falls. Despite these factors, consider these disappointing statistics:
- According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 230,000 workers in the United States sustained nonfatal injuries from slips, trips, and falls in a recent year, each resulting in one or more days away from work. Although some of these injuries were only temporarily disabling, others left workers permanently disabled.
- In one recent year, in fact, 803 workers died as a result of workplace falls.
- Most years slips, trips, and falls result in somewhere between 15 percent and 20 percent of all nonfatal workplace injuries, the highest rate of injury of any single activity regulated by OSHA.
Know What OSHA Says
In recognition of the prevalence of fall hazards and the alarming statistics of fall injuries and fatalities, OSHA has issued several standards for both General Industry and Construction regarding fall hazards in the workplace. These include regulations for walking and working surfaces; guarding floor and wall openings and holes; stairs; ladder design, inspection, and use; and working at heights.
Being familiar with these regulations can help you identify hazards and take steps to prevent slips, trips, and falls in your workplace. One of these critical steps is repeat training on this common hazard.
Need to train employees to identify slip, trip, and fall hazards at work? Try Training Today’s Safety Library. The Workplace Safety Training Library includes everything you need to increase awareness of general safety practices and achieve compliance with national OHSA and state workplace safety rules and regulations. Find out more here.
Recognize the Hazards
Train your workers to be constantly on the lookout for these common causes of slips, trips, and falls:
- Messy, cluttered work areas
- Tools, materials, cords, and other items lying on the floor in places where people walk
- Poor visibility caused by inadequate lighting or burned-out bulbs
- Not watching where you’re going or carrying something you can’t see over
- Running or walking too fast
- Spills and wet floors
- Open drawers (a not-so-obvious trip hazard!)
- Uneven, defective flooring, worn stairs, or worn spots in carpets that nobody has reported or fixed
- Failure to use handrails when going up or down the stairs
- Not enough caution on ladders
- Wearing shoes that are not appropriate for the work space or the job
Eliminate Trip Hazards with Training
Many fall injuries occur on level ground when people trip over unexpected objects in their path. Help eliminate trip hazards by training employees to follow these do’s and don’ts.
- Keep work areas neat and tidy, putting tools, materials, and other items away after use.
- Pick up items off the floor, even if they didn’t put them there.
- Step over or around obstructions, not on them.
- Walk slowly and change directions slowly, especially when carrying a load.
- Watch for changes in floor level-such as a few steps or a ramp up or down.
- Report lighting problems, such as burned out bulbs, to maintenance right away.
- Use a flashlight if they need more light leaving the facility in the dark.
- Don’t leave boxes, bags, tools, or other materials on the floor.
- Don’t block walkways with hand trucks, equipment, or materials.
- Don’t leave cords or cables in walkways.
- Don’t place anything on stairs.
- Don’t leave drawers open.
Unlimited employee safety training with a comprehensive library—one low cost—no setup, no software to install. Training Today‘s Workplace Safety Library includes a Slips and Falls course that teaches employees how to avoid and eliminate slip and trip hazards while at work. But that’s not all! Go here for more information or to sign up.
In tomorrow’s Advisor, more training musts on other slip and fall hazards, plus some great news—how you can receive a whole safety Library of online training to help with all of your safety training needs.