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Practicing Slip and Fall Prevention - March 2017
A janitorial employee was scrubbing the steps and floors
with water and a cleaning agent. An observant worker realized that soon, dozens
of employees would be going down these steps for their lunch break. This person
then took the proper action to avert this potentially dangerous situation and
set up a wet floor sign.
Do Your Safety Part
An unguarded wet floor is only one of the many causes that
account for millions of work-related injuries every year. Which is why it is
important to spot unsafe conditions that could lead to slips and falls, and do
what you can to prevent them.
There are various ways to suffer slips and falls while
working. You can slip and lose your balance, you can trip over objects left
improperly in your walkway, or you can simply fall from an elevated position to
the ground. To avoid slips and falls, be on the lookout for foreign substances
on the floor. Watch for:
- Deposits of water
- Grease or oil
- Other manufacturing debris
Even small quantities are enough to make you fall.
When entering a building from the outdoors or from debris
areas, clean your footwear thoroughly. Snowy and rainy weather require a
doormat at each entrance to allow for complete wiping of shoes. Avoid running,
walk safely and do not change directions too sharply.
Beware of tripping hazards. Trash, unused materials or any
object left in aisles designed for pedestrian traffic invites falls. Extension
cords, tools, carts and other items should be removed or properly barricaded
off. If equipment or supplies are left in walkways, report it. Let the proper
personnel remove it. And keep passageways clean of debris by using trash
barrels and recycling bins.
Walk in designated walking areas. Short cuts through machine
or other manufacturing areas can cause accidents. Concentrate on where you are
going—horseplay and inattention leaves you vulnerable to unsafe conditions.
Hold on to handrails when using stairs or ramps. They are there to protect you
should a fall occur. If you’re carrying a heavy load that hampers your ability
to properly ascend or descend stairs, use the elevator or find help.
The worst falls are from elevated positions such as ladders,
and can result in serious injury or death. Learn and practice ladder safety and
the proper use of scaffolding. For example, when climbing, use a ladder of
proper length that is in good condition. Keep it placed on a firm surface. Do
not climb a ladder placed on machinery, crates, stock or boxes. Keep the
ladder’s base one foot away from the wall for every four feet of height. Don’t
over-reach. Always have control of your balance when working from a ladder.
Never climb a ladder with your hands full, and always transport tools in their
proper carrying devices.
Slips and falls occur every day. The extent of injuries and
their recurrence can be minimized through proper safety knowledge, good
housekeeping and practicing prevention.