Prioritizing Floor Safety And Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls
Approximately 20 percent of all workplace injuries are caused by slips, trips and falls. For employers, this often results in workers missing about 11 days of work, costing on average of $40,000 per incident. In some facilities, such as restaurants, these numbers can be even higher. This is because in a busy restaurant kitchen, safety is sometimes overlooked in favor of speed and customer satisfaction.
"But there are steps managers can take to keep building users safe and prevent or at least minimize slip and fall accidents," says Matt Morrison, Communications Manager for Kaivac.
• Conducting a safety audit. Slips, trips and falls tend to occur repeatedly in the same locations; document where these accidents occur so that these areas can receive extra attention to improve safety.
• Use and change warning signs. Safety cones, floor signs and caution signs should be placed in areas where accidents frequently occur. And signage should be changed from time to time in order to catch workers' attention.
• Marking hazardous walkways. Taking signage a step further, managers should use highly visible warning tape to mark uneven, possibly dangerous, or slippery floors. Use reflective or photo luminescent warning tape in dark areas.
• Maintaining proper floor care. Many accidents occur because floors are not cleaned properly, often because grease, oil and soils have been mopped into the floors and grout.
"And keep reminding building users to 'think safety,'" adds Morrison. "Speed, satisfying customers and meeting deadlines are important, but worker safety should always be at the top of the list."
Slip and Fall Quick Facts:
• Slips, trips and falls are the leading cause of workplace injuries.
• Slips, trips and falls account for 20 percent of all workers' compensation costs.
• In 2007/08, slips and trips accounted for 33 percent of reported injuries to workers.
• Higher risk industries include construction, public administration, postal services and food service.
• Falls are the second leading cause of accidental deaths in the U.S.
• 75 percent of slips and trips occur on walking surfaces, such as floors, stairs and sidewalks.
• According to the National Safety Council, one-seventh of all accidental deaths are due to injuries sustained because of a fall, and approximately 12,000 lives are lost annually.
• According to the National Floor Safety Institute, every day more than 25,000 people go to hospitals with injuries due to slip and fall accidents.
• Statistics indicate that 60 percent of falls happen on the same level; 40 percent are falls from a height.