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Slips, Trips & Falls
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Hazard: Slips, trips, and falls on the same level exact a substantial toll in terms of death, personal injury and suffering, workers’ compensation, loss in productivity, and civil liability. In fact, the 2007 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index indicates that falls on the same level were the second leading cause of all workplace injuries in 2005, accounting for 13.6 percent of direct costs associated with such injuries, or more than US$6.6 billion. Additionally, the National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that workers’ compensation and medical costs associated with employee slip and fall accidents are approximately $70 billion per year.

Safety Solutions

Housekeeping

  • Keep all work environment, passageways, storerooms, and service rooms clean, sanitary, and orderly.
     
  • Keep workroom floors clean and dry. Where wet processes are used, provide drainage, false floors, platforms, mats, etc.
     
  • Keep floors, working areas, and passageways free of protruding nails, splinters, holes, loose boards, or tiles.
     
  • Periodically inspect the walking areas to check for foreign objects, water, and other items that may create falling hazards. Maintain records of your inspection activities including the area inspected, conditions observed, who conducted the
    inspection, and the time.
     
  • Practice sound recordkeeping by maintaining a cleaning log, including products used, surfaces cleaned, when and by whom tasks are performed, and cleaning procedures.
Employee Training
  • Train employees about established safety procedures, cleaning operations, and inspection procedures.
     
  • Provide employees with appropriate product usage training.
     
  • Post written slip and fall prevention and accident handling policies in conspicuous places.
     
  • Keep records of all employee training including individuals trained, subject matter covered, training materials, and date of training.
     
  • Consider a reward system for employees who promote positive safety procedures.

Flooring and Stairs

  • Select appropriate flooring materials for the anticipated conditions of use. Select flooring with a SCOF of greater than 0.5 for “high risk” areas.
     
  • Consider periodic monitoring of slip resistance of the flooring surfaces.
     
  • Inspect flooring surfaces for holes, chips or other trip hazards and make necessary repairs.
     
  • Use non-slip stair treads and landings with abrasive stair nosing.
Matting
  • Use absorbent walk-off mats at all doorways that lead to the outside and in other areas where it is foreseeable that slippery conditions exist.
     
  • Use low-profile, highly abrasive matting in areas where grease and oil are present.
     
  • Thick mats should be constructed with beveled edges to minimize tripping.
     
  • Use mats with a non-slip backing on wet surfaces.
     
  • Ensure that mats are adequately secured against movement.
Cleaning Chemicals
  • Maintain high-risk areas using a traction-enhancing cleaner.
     
  • Select a floor cleaner that enhances slip resistance and does not leave a slippery soap residue. Rinse thoroughly with clean water after use.
     
  • Select a commercial floor polish with SCOF of 0.5 or higher. Select higher SCOF products for high-risk areas.
Hazard Identification
  • Once hazards are identified (i.e. a spill on the floor), post caution signs or barriers preventing access to the spill.
     
  • Post caution signs while mopping.
     
  • Periodically inspect entryways and mop up tracked in rain, snow, and debris.
     
  • Eliminate chronic hazards by implementing design changes and conducting frequent equipment inspection and servicing.
     
  • Barricade doors of single entrance rooms when wet mopping.
OSHA Resources