slips, trips and falls are serious

The Safety and Health at Work indicates that “Slips, trips and falls are the largest cause of accidents in all sectors from heavy manufacturing through to office work .

Every year hundreds of people are injured by slipping, tripping or falling and many are left with painful injuries, including fractures and sprains and strains to ankles, knees, shoulders, wrist and elbows.

Some slip trip and fall injuries can cause permanent disability Falls can be fatal.

 Causes of slips, trips and falls vary considerably and generally include one or more of the following:

  • Walking surface contaminated with spills e.g. oils, water and/or other liquid  or slippery substances;
  •  Weather related items e.g. rain, snow, ice
  •  Areas with high spill risk
  •  Areas where levels change, e.g. slopes, ramps, steps/stairs, drainage channels
  •  People are unaware of the hazards
  •  Warning signs inadequate
  •  Poor housekeeping behaviour: material or objects inappropriately stored, e.g. cables and hoses not rolled back, profiles sticking out on walkways
  •  Lighting inadequate
  •  Damaged floorings , uneven walking surfaces
  •  Smooth walkway surfaces do not allow for adequate footwear-traction
  •  Mats or rugs which become unanchored or loose.
  •  Use of inappropriate footwear

 The good news is that slips, trips and falls are among the easiest hazards to correct. If you know where the hazards are, add common sense and you will reduce slip, trip and fall hazard tremendously .

Remember the following rules :

  • Wear the safety shoes provided by the location, ensuring a good grip, and good slip resistance as needed.
  • Keep pedestrians away from wet/moist floors using also physical barriers, warning signs alone may not be sufficient in some circumstances; and remember to remove warning signs when no longer necessary.
  • Ensure Flooring/Paving is in good condition
  • Maintain adequate lighting.
  • Identify high-risk areas for slips, trips and falls, e.g. slopes, ramps, unexpected holes, bumps, drainage channels.
  • Maintain proper housekeeping; always roll back cables and hoses and do not leave cleaning up till the end of the shift.
  • Identify high-spill-risk areas, report spills and/or clean up any spills immediately using appropriate absorbent material.
  • Do not be in a hurry
  • Pay attention to your step and practice walking safely
  • Inspect your work area daily for possible hazards and ways to prevent the hazards.

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