No one is immune to the risk of slips, trips, and falls. The National Floor Safety Institute lists some staggering statistics related to falls both in and out of the workplace. For example, slips and falls are the most common cause of workers’ compensation claims. For individuals who are 55 years old and older, falls are the leading cause of occupational injury.
In addition to the injury itself, it can be bad news for your facility financially if a slip and fall incident results in a lawsuit or if it happens to one of your employees. In order to avoid the problems that may ensue after a fall, it’s essential to first understand what causes slips and falls in the first place. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) breaks down several important risk factors:
- Human behavior can increase the risk of falls.
- Physical changes within each employee are often responsible for increased rates of slips, trips, and falls. This is why items like corrective eyewear for those in need should be required in the workplace.
- Design of the workplace creates common cause for falls. Marking ramps, steps, thresholds, or gaps is a crucial but simple part of any workplace design.
- Physical barriers (or lack thereof) increase risk. Clutter, uncovered cables or wires, outdoor debris such as leaves blown inside, or open cabinets can all cause a risk of stumbles and injury.
Focusing on the safety of your flooring is paramount. For example, you can work to modify any of the increases in risk listed above. For a few ideas of how you might decrease these probabilities, read below.
- Educate yourself. Analyze your workspace and past incidents of slips, trips, and falls. Understand the causes of these incidents and use them to inform future decisions.
- Host training sessions to enlighten your employees about behaviors that increase fall risk and provide innovative, practical solutions to modify these behaviors.
- Frequently inspect for safety hazards within your workplace and, if necessary, make corrections. This includes fixing leaks, rerouting cables safely, and ensuring that your employees are wearing appropriate corrective eyewear and shoes.
- Check out products such as non-slip tape, spray coating for different types of flooring, floor sealing, grab bars and handrails, and more.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the risks of slips and falls and don’t know which solutions to emphasize in your workplace, you may be a perfect candidate to take advantage of a slip testing audit. Services like these are performed by experts trained in floor safety concepts and research. Analysis of workplace hazards can help you decide where to start when looking for the most effective solutions to reduce fall risk.
Remember, preventing risk is a team effort between you, your employees, and the manufacturers providing slip testing audits and slip solutions. Take advantage of all your resources and maximize communication—it’ll pay off with improved safety ratings for your institution!