There are many people who may have slipped on icy walkways and sidewalks. It can be a painful and embarrassing tumble. While most people usually only end up with a bruised ego and body, there are some who get the short end of the stick, with major injuries. Now imagine a workplace with conditions that resulted in slips, trips and falls? Even though the employee can hold his or her employer liable for not adhering to workplace safety, sustaining an injury is definitely not something people want to experience.
The primary responsibility for workplace safety lies with the employer. However, even employees should take measures to keep their work environment safe not just for themselves, but also for others.
What Do Statistics Show?
Slips, trips and falls are the most common accidents according to the U.S. Department of Labor resulting in 95 million work days lost every calendar year. This translates to quite a bit of loss, not just for the employer, but also for the employee.
Most workplace slips and falls occur due to shoes losing traction or coming in contact with an object on the floor. There are several situations that can result in slips, trips and falls. The most common causes are wet floors, freshly polished floors, uneven walking surfaces, rain, sleet, ice, frost, irregular steps and stairs without handrails.
Maintaining Workplace Safety
Employers have to make an effort to ensure working conditions are safe and hazard-free. Here are some tips that businesses and industries can use to maintain optimal workplace safety.
Good Housekeeping Practices: In any work environment, housekeeping often is linked to safety. Businesses that have poor housekeeping practices will have higher incidences of employees getting injured, which drive up the organization’s insurance costs and also result in increased citations from health and safety officials. Businesses that follow good housekeeping measures will not only have a neat and safe working environment, but also will have more productive workers.
Any workplace should have a housekeeping program in place as a part of its daily cleaning routine. This will ensure workplace safety and reduce incidences of employee injuries. Eployees should be encouraged to follow these housekeeping measures, so that they also feel a sense of ownership and responsibility.
Reducing Wet Surfaces: Surfaces, such as parking lots, sidewalks, food preparation areas and employee shower area, which are prone to getting wet and slippery, should have measures in place to reduce moisture and wetness on the walking surface. Some of these measures include:
- Display signs saying “Wet Floor” prominently
- Shoveling snow in parking lots and sidewalks and then using deicing salt to prevent the surface from becoming slippery
- Maintaining parking lots and sidewalks in good condition
- Applying anti-skid paint on floors that are slippery
- Installing anti-skid tiles in bathrooms and shower areas
- Cleaning up spills at once
Maintain Clutter-free Aisles and Walkways: Many workplace injuries take place due to clutter and obstacles in walking areas, particular stairwells, entrances, aisles and corridors. When housekeeping is efficient and properly supervised, there will be no clutter, such as files, briefcases, cartons and cables and wires, to cause people to trip and fall.
Optimal Lighting: When lighting is poor, visibility is reduced and this can result in increased accidents. Hence, workplace should ensure stairwells, corridors, basements, walkways, parking lots and aisles are well illuminated. Any fixtures that are not working should be immediately repaired to avoid chances of slips and falls.
These are some of the workplace safety measures that every organization should have in place, be it an office, production floor or construction site. Employees should be encouraged to wear proper footwear to prevent falls, and should avoid talking on their cell phones while walking. These few measures adopted by employees also can go a long way in maintaining workplace safety.
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