Scroll to the bottom of this article for a checklist that will help prevent slips, trips, and falls at your workplace.
Slips, trips, and falls are no joke. According to statistics Canada, injuries that result from a fall are a leading cause of injury. They make up 34 percent of all male injuries and 43 percent of female injuries. The stats go on to say that 41 percent of these same falls are preventable. Furthermore, the Canadian center for Occupational Health and Safety report that 42,000 Canadian workers each year are reported to be victims of a slip, trip, or fall injury. This number represents 18 percent of all time-loss accepted by worker's compensation board. One other consideration to make is that slips, trips, and falls are the leading cause of death and disability, after auto accidents.
What do these statistic mean to businesses? In a nutshell, slips, trips, and falls are costing businesses money, not to mention the pain and suffering that goes along with an injury or death. A business found liable may be ordered by the courts to pay fines in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. In addition, any lost income that may result from the shut down of all operations ordered while an investigation takes place. Everyone suffers from a workplace injury. Insurance premiums rise as the awards from a fall injury increase. To be exact, In Canada insurance premiums rise by 30 percent each year. Businesses in turn must recoup these costs through means such as charging consumers more for their product/service and layoffs.
In the context of dealing with an injury or death resulting from a fall, the courts dive deeper then just the business as a whole. They will want to know if the injury/death was foreseeable, who was liable during the time of the fall (managers, maintenance, etc.) and, did this person do what they could to prevent the fall by means of making sure that the facility was in accordance with acceptable standards. Was there an adequate inspection system in place or being used? Was the hazard allowed to exist for a reasonable amount of time? Would it have been easy for the hazard to be prevented? Based on the answers to these questions, the court may find the person(s) that the business appointed responsible for the area in which the fall happened, and the employees that worked within it, personally liable for the injury or death.
How do you make sure you are doing what you can to prevent slips, trips, or falls at your workplace? Conducting a simple patrol through out your facility is a great practice to integrate into your day. In doing so, you'll make sure
that you are keeping the safety of both you and your team in good standing when it comes to preventing slips, trips, and falls.
CONDUCTING PATROLS (PREVENTION)
A patrol can happen at any time of the day and involves walking throughout the facility. These routine patrols are simple but the importance of them cannot be emphasized enough. Designate a starting point for your patrol and then walk throughout the facility, identifying any potential hazards. Objects on the ground, boxes sticking out of shelving units, leaks from the roof, coffee cups left in isles. All of these are potential hazards and should be dealt with immediately. The hazard should be documented and removed immediately. If the hazard requires repair, the appropriate maintenance/janitorial personnel should be notified. While the hazard awaits repair, the area should be clearly marked and sectioned off with signage and tape. If an employee is responsible or if the the hazard could have been prevented, procedures and training should be implemented in order to reduce the likelihood of the problem reoccurring.
If a slip, trip, or fall happens, it is vital that the cause of the accident is identified. Was the floor wet? Did the fall happen on uneven ground? Did an object cause the fall? Was it preventable? Did it happen in an area that did not have adequate lighting? These questions should all be answered and procedures and actions should be undertaken to prevent another fall from happening. Witnesses should be asked about what happened and any surveillance video (if available) should be viewed. After prevention, putting together a good, detailed report of the events leading up to the fall is the best action one can take from a legal standpoint.
SLIP: Occurs when there is too little friction or traction between your feet and a surface, resulting in a loss of balance.
TRIP: Happens when your foot or lower leg collides with something, but your upper body keeps moving forward, throwing you off balance. It can also happen when you step down to a lower surface and stumble.
FALL: Happens when you are so far off balance that walking has stopped and you have struck the ground or fallen against another object such as a wall.
OUR RECOMMENDED PRODUCTS FOR SLIP, TRIP, AND FALL PREVENTION
STICKY WALK-ON MAT - Increases traction and keeps floors clean and dry
TRACTION CONTROL PRODUCTS - Increase traction with ice melt, grip-tract tape, and more
HAZARD SIGNS & MARKING PRODUCTS - Signs & marking products to draw attention to hazards
PATROL CHECKLIST PDF
We have put together an effective "patrol checklist" that you can print out and utilize during your patrols. It will help you prevent slips, trips, and falls from being a "thing" at work. To learn how to optimally use the checklist and to learn why it is important, we recommend that you read the entire post.