OSHA leads a campaign to raise awareness of preventing fall hazards within the construction industry where falls from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction workers.

However, slips, trips and falls occur in all types of occupations, on and off the job, at work and around the home. While accidental injuries, which includes falls, has now become the number 3 cause of death for the first time in US history, many of these accidents are preventable.

Safety is good business no matter where you are. The following tips can help identify fall hazards and help put safety measures in place to mitigate the risks.

Fall Prevention Tips: Spills

» Wipe up spills right away. Use something absorbent to soak up all the liquid.
» Stay off freshly mopped floors.
» Train employees how to properly clean and disinfect areas where hazardous liquids, such as blood and hazardous chemicals, have been spilled.
» Identify high-spill risk areas that could lead to a wet floor, such as wash-up areas, food preparation areas, showers and toilets.
» Create “spill kits” with appropriate cleaning materials and put near areas that are high-spill risk.
» Use preventive measures when possible, such as drip trays beneath plants, machines or water coolers.

Fall Prevention Tips: Outside Areas

» Check to ensure lighting is adequate inside and outside your building or home. Replace any broken light bulbs.
» Trim back hedges, plants and trees so they don’t create a walkway hazard.
» Use barriers that can’t be moved easily to block around holes and broken paths.
» Use slip-resistant coating or strips on slippery fire escapes.
» Adjust gutter downspouts away from walkways.

Fall Prevention Tips: Flooring & Stairways

» Reduce the risk of slips, trips and falls by using appropriate mats on the floor and in well-trafficked areas – moisture-absorbent mats with beveled edges in entrance areas.
» Use non-slip paint or slip-resistant coating/strips on stair steps; even better, use eye-catching colors.
» Fasten any loose floor tiles and curling carpet edges.
» Keep stairways free of obstructions (boxes, books, toys, shoes).
» Provide easy-to-reach, useable handrails on both sides and sufficient lighting on stairways and in stairwells.
» Change or treat floor surfaces by adding slip resistant materials
» Know where transition areas are – those areas where there’s a sudden change in the level of grip from dry to wet, one type of floor to another.
» Educate employees and post warning signs.

However, don’t substitute warning signs for protective measures. People don’t always read or pay attention!

Resources for You

» Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls
» Preventing Slips, Trips & Falls in the Workplace
» Slip, Trip & Fall Prevention for Healthcare Workers

This blog, originally posted June 11, 2014, has been updated with additional sources and information.

photo credit: Ian D Nolan via photopin cc

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