Proven Methods to Prevent Slips, Trips, and Falls at Work

Categories: Safety TipsPublished On: February 16, 2024
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Exploring Workplace Slips, Trips, and Falls

Slips, trips, and falls in the workplace are not simply minor inconveniences; they can pose a significant risk to employee safety and can result in serious injuries and financial repercussions for businesses. In Ontario, 20% of all workplace injuries are caused by slips and falls, accounting for approximately 20 deaths per year.

In this article, we explore the prevalence and impact of workplace slip, trip, and fall incidents and explore preventative measures to mitigate these risks.

Identifying Common Hazards Leading to Slip and Fall

Understanding the nature of common hazards that lead to slip, trip, and fall incidents is crucial for developing effective prevention strategies. There are many kinds of slips, trips, and falls, and we will define them below:

  • Slip and Fall Type 1: This occurs when the front foot slips forward, and the person falls backward.
  • Slip and Fall Type 2: This occurs when the rear foot slips backward, and the person falls forward.
  • Trip and Fall: This occurs when the front foot strikes an object and is stopped suddenly, resulting in loss of balance.
  • Step and Fall: This occurs when the front foot lands on a surface lower than expected.

Wet floors, uneven surfaces, poor lighting, and clutter are among the leading culprits. Slips occur when there is little traction between the footwear and the walking surface. The likelihood of a slip happening can increase with workplace hazards such as wet or oily surfaces, spills, poor weather (i.e., ice), loose rugs, and uneven flooring.

Inappropriate footwear is another hazard that can lead to slips, trips, and falls. Workers with footwear that lack traction can be at an increased risk of falling. There are many contributing factors to slips, trips, and falls that employers need to be aware of. Contributing factors include inadequate lighting and improper use of equipment. Employers must identify and address these hazards to create a safer work environment.

1. Proper Housekeeping and Maintenance

Maintaining a clean, dry, and clutter-free workplace is foundational to preventing slips, trips, and falls. Regular housekeeping practices, such as promptly cleaning up spills, removing obstacles, and ensuring proper drainage, are essential. Each workplace may want to create a workplace housekeeping checklist to keep track of hazard mitigation. The checklist can include the following questions:

  • Are floors clean and clear of waste?
  • Are signs posted to warn of wet floors and spills quickly cleaned
  • Are the floors in good condition?
  • Are there holes, worn, or loose planks sticking up?
  • Is anti-slip flooring used in areas where spills, moisture, or grease are likely?
  • Are there protruding objects (e.g., nails, sharp corners, etc.)?
  • Are light fixtures clean?
  • Is the workplace efficiently lit?
  • Are light bulbs replaced promptly?
  • Are aisles unobstructed and clearly marked?

In addition, implementing a comprehensive maintenance schedule for floor surfaces, including repairing uneven flooring and addressing wear and tear, is equally important. By prioritizing these measures, businesses can significantly reduce the risk of incidents.

2: Effective Signage and Hazard Communication

Employers should use effective signage to highlight potential hazards, especially in areas prone to spills or slippery conditions. Adequate lighting and conspicuous warning signs help employees navigate safely through the workplace. Regularly review and update signage to reflect changes in the work environment and ensure that employees are aware of potential risks.

3: Footwear Policies and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Employer policies must address footwear based on the risks workers face in their environment. These policies need to be enforced. Additionally, employers can provide personal protective equipment such as anti-slip shoe covers or traction aids in areas with heightened slip risks. These preventive measures protect employees and contribute to a culture of safety in the workplace.

4: Employee Training and Awareness Programs

Employers should implement comprehensive training programs to educate employees about potential hazards, safe work practices, and the importance of adhering to established safety protocols. Foster a culture of responsibility by encouraging employees to report and promptly address any unsafe conditions they encounter. Regular training sessions and refresher courses ensure that safety remains a top priority in the workplace.

5: Ongoing Inspections and Risk Assessments

A preventive approach to safety involves regular inspections and risk assessments. Periodically evaluate the workplace for potential hazards, paying special attention to high-risk areas. Promptly address any issues identified during inspections and continually reassess and update safety protocols as needed. By staying vigilant, employers can stay one step ahead of potential risks and create a safer working environment for everyone.

Commitment to Winter Workplace Safety

Preventing slips and falls in the workplace requires a multifaceted and preventive approach. Employers must prioritize proper housekeeping, effective communication, and employee training to create a safety culture for workers. Regular inspections and risk assessments are critical components of an ongoing safety strategy.

By implementing these measures, businesses can significantly reduce the risk of workplace incidents, ensuring the well-being of their employees and safeguarding their bottom line. Prioritizing winter workplace safety is an investment in both the well-being of employees and the organization’s future success.