According to OSHA, 15% of all accidental deaths are caused by slips, trips, and falls. Only motor vehicle accidents cause more fatalities. The seriousness of a fall depends on a number of factors such as whether the person falls forward or backward, the height of the fall, the person’s age and health, how the person lands, and the landing area. This is a universal problem affecting all types of working environments, and its prevention requires great diligence. Here are three common slip, trip and fall workplace hazards to watch for:
A liquid or even solid contaminant on the floor reduces its friction and may cause a slip. Slip dangers can suddenly occur on floor areas that people are normally used to walking on safely. This catches them off guard. Oil drippage from machines, water spills, floor cleaning, frost outside the doors of large freezers, unsecured rugs, and doorway entrances slippery from wet feet are among the many types of slip hazards.
Tripping hazards occur in environments normally considered safe for walking (as opposed to rugged wilderness settings). It occurs when one’s foot unexpectedly catches on objects or uneven floor surfaces. Loose floor tiles, raised concrete on walkways, floor clutter, small raised steps between rooms, wrinkled rugs, and uneven stairways are common trip hazards. Even white-collar environments aren’t free of trip hazards. Floors in these environments can have cables and cords on the floors from computers, servers, and other high-tech devices that are often networked together.
Poor lighting prevents people from seeing slip and trip hazards as well as normal objects such as chairs and other furniture. Poor lighting also makes safe stair use impossible. Transition zones between bright and dim lighting worsen the problem.
Employees should report slip, trip and fall hazards to management immediately. In addition, they should wear shoes with treaded rubber soles and replace them before they are worn smooth. Shoes should have ankle support when work requires physical labor.