Preventing Slips and Falls
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2010 294,620 employees suffered injuries from slips, trips, or falls. Of these, 221,100 were from falls to the same level or slip or trip events.
The National Floor Safety Institute or NFSI reports :
- Slips and falls are the leading cause of workers' compensation claims and are the leading cause of occupational injury for people aged 15-24 years.
- Compensation & medical costs associated with employee slip/fall accidents is approximately $70 billion annually (National Safety Council Injury Facts 2003 edition).
All slips and falls are preventable with a little planning and forethought. Since we may have little control of the surface we tread upon, slip and trip avoidance depend heavily on YOU. Your attention to your surroundings, what you have on your feet, and what you’re doing in the moment are all critical.
Consider the following areas when planning for prevention or analyzing a slip/fall event:
1. The surface
2. The awareness or behavior
3. The footwear
4. The environment
It is usually awareness/behavior that contributes the most to a slip or fall occurrence, but the best attack on slip and fall hazards is a combined evaluation of these four areas.
The following is a checklist and mnemonic when evaluating slip and fall hazards and developing a plan for preventing them.
- Condition and lighting of the surface and pathway
- Condition of the Footwear
- Surface Encumbrances (obstacles, fluids)
- Pitch and Condition of Stairs
- Location and Condition of Handrails
- Relevance of Pathway
- Behavior/Condition of the Worker
- Pace of Work in/around Pathway
This is not necessarily a complete list of areas to evaluate, so don’t limit yourself when trying to develop a plan for prevention or in post incident analysis.
So Take a MEMIC Minute and remember, ALL slip and fall events are PREVENTABLE!