Prevent Slips, Trips, and Falls in the Workplace
No one should feel at risk of injury at their place of work. Unfortunately, people are injured every day while simply making a living. Whether it’s a restaurant, hair salon, call center, or school, businesses are responsible for maintaining a safe and hazard-free environment for their employees to thrive and remain unharmed. Slips, trips, and falls often result in injury. However, these events are almost always preventable.
In this blog from Carpenter & Czelusta, you’ll learn how to avoid injuries in the workplace caused by common slips, trips, and falls. Continue reading to discover how to keep your valued employees safe and save your business from legal consequences.
Injury Prevention in the Workplace
While there are many ways you can get hurt at work, slips, trips, and falls tend to be the most common occurrences. They can cause various injuries, like bruises, sprains, scrapes, broken bones, and head traumas. Fortunately, you can easily prevent these incidents. With cleanliness, attention to detail, proper signage, and other proactive efforts, you can keep yourself and your employees safe from slips, trips, and falls.
When a staff member sustains an injury from one of these common causes, they may have to take time off to heal. Additionally, employees have the right to file a claim against your business for failing to maintain a safe and hazard-free work environment. Depending on the impact and nature of the injury, it may cost your business thousands of dollars and negatively affect your reputation.
It’s critical to keep your workplace safe, so your employees remain happy and healthy and your business has the best chance at success.
What Businesses Can Do to Prevent Slips, Trips, and Falls
As mentioned, slips, trips, and falls in the workplace are avoidable. Use the following five tips to keep your employees out of harm’s way.
1 | Maintain a Clutter-Free Work Environment
One of the leading causes of slips, trips, and falls are a cluttered and disorganized environment. When items are out of place and in the way, anyone can trip and potentially get hurt. From bulky furniture and storage boxes to small electrical wires and work equipment—anything obstructing a walkway or workspace can be a hazard.
Maintain a clutter-free environment by keeping a well-organized establishment with a solid cleaning routine. Disorder begins with the lack of effective organization. Whatever the workspace, whether it be a restaurant, an office of cubicles, or a retail store, it is crucial to have a system of organization that gives everything a proper home. For instance, use closets, cabinets, and storage rooms to hold the equipment and products used less often. For the objects your employees use frequently, have an accessible and logical storage location, like a shelf or drawer.
Furthermore, you must stick to the system created. You can do this by enforcing tidiness, creating a cleaning rotation, and regularly assessing the organization system to ensure it is updated with any changes.
2 | Assessing Stairs, Steps, and Ledges
Stairs and even small steps or ledges are frequent places for slips, trips, and falls. Therefore, they are essential areas to focus on when assessing the safety of a workspace. Reduce the risk of injury by implementing the following for all stairs, steps, and ledges in the work environment:
- Ensure proper lighting is around stairs, steps, and ledges, whether it be bright overhead lights, floor lights, or LED lights along the edges.
- Keep stairways and similar areas absent of clutter and debris.
- Install handrails to aid with balance and security.
- Highlight the top and bottom of the stairs or steps with reflective tape to draw attention to these areas.
- Keep unsecured rugs away from stairways and steps to reduce slips, falls, and trips.
- Cover the stairs or ledges with grippy flooring or lining to help with traction.
- Use appropriate signage around stairs, steps, and ledges to increase awareness and activate the attention of those who use them.
3 | Effective Lighting to Avoid Slips, Trips, and Falls
Prevent slips, trips, and falls in the workplace by having proper and effective lighting throughout. It’s common sense to have brightly illuminated high-traffic areas, like the kitchen of a restaurant, the entrance of a retail store, or the break room in an office. However, other places in the workplace can easily be neglected.
For example, short hallways, storage closets, transitional walkways, and basements are also important when it comes to adequate lighting. Anywhere in the building visited by guests, employees, or vendors must have lighting bright enough to allow for complete visibility.
Furthermore, the exterior of the building should also have the correct lighting installed. The parking lot, front entrance, and behind the building must be well-lit to not only prevent injury but ensure the safety of employees and visitors on many different levels.
Pass on the following information to your employees and co-workers to encourage a safe environment:
- Always turn on the light when entering a dark room or closet.
- Keep all work areas clear and well-lit when occupied.
- Avoid clutter and debris in poorly lit areas.
- Maintain accessible light switches by keeping the space around them clear.
- Report any lighting issues, like broken switches, snapped cords, or burnt-out light bulbs, as soon as they are identified so they can be addressed promptly.
4 | Ensure Floors are in Good Condition
One of the best ways to prevent injuries caused by slips, trips, and falls in a work environment is to have proper and well-maintained flooring. Outdoor areas, like the parking lot, front entry, and even behind the building, should be absent of cracks or holes. The ground needs to be a grabby material, like concrete or asphalt. This way, adverse weather, like rain or snow, won’t make the environment hazardous.
If the exterior grounds are in poor condition, address the issues are soon as possible. It’s only a matter of time before an employee or visitor becomes injured because of the lack of maintenance and care.
Inside the building, you should first be concerned about the material. Is it appropriate for the activity? Is it slippery when spills occur or when mud or stand is tracked inside? Are food and beverages handled in the area? The flooring material must be appropriate for what the room or space is used for.
Replacing floors is often expensive. If you don’t have the budget to replace any inappropriate or damaged flooring immediately, there are other actions you can take to ensure the safety of your employees and guests:
- Install non-skid mats, traction strips, or rugs.
- Place warning signs around the hazardous area.
- Require employees to wear non-slip shoes.
- Mark the unsafe locations with bright paint.
5 | Immediately Address Spills and Other Messes
If you work in an environment where food is handled or where employees and visitors are allowed to have beverages and food, always be on the lookout for spills. Additionally, if you work in a space where any liquid is used, like a nail salon or manufacturing plant, you must address spills immediately.
When a spill or similar mess is ignored, it can easily cause slips, trips, and falls. If you need to retrieve special equipment or cleaning supplies, clearly mark the affected space with signs indicating a hazard. Then, clean the spill using appropriate tools, chemicals, or machines as soon as possible.
Contact Your Passionate Local Legal Team for Slips, Trips, And Falls
If you or a loved one sustains an injury resulting from a slip, tip, or fall in the workplace, call the team you can trust at Carpenter & Czelusta law. We are passionate and dedicated attorneys who handle injury-related legal cases every day.
Your place of work is responsible for your safety and well-being and aware of the actions they should take to keep their employees out of harm’s way. Get the results you deserve by contacting Carpenter & Czelusta today. We look forward to working with you!