Preventing Slip-And-Fall Accidents In The Workplace
Slip-and-falls are the leading cause of workplace accidents and injuries. According to the 2018 Liberty Mutual Insurance Workplace Safety Index, businesses in the United States paid more than $11 billion in 2015 in direct workers’ compensation costs for accidents involving slips, trips and falls. This figure does not include the costs of liability or lost productivity. The National Safety Council reports that half of all same-level slips, trips and falls are the result of unsafe floor conditions. To reduce the potential hazards leading to these accidents, there are ways to manage your workplace environment to combat the risk of injury to employees and customers.
- Keep Floor Surfaces Free of Clutter
An unobstructed path minimizes the opportunity for an individual to trip over an unexpected object. By keeping walkways clear, you also reduce the potential for a spill that could create a dangerous slipping hazard.
- Install and Use Proper Lighting
Environments that are properly lit will reduce the risk of hazards being hidden by darkness or shadows. Proper lighting both inside and outside the workplace can help to illuminate areas that are common places for slips, trips, and falls.
- Use Appropriate Signage
Clear, well-placed signage can call attention to potential hazards. A sign that indicates a step, gap, or uneven ground will increase attention and awareness of certain problem areas. It is also advisable to highlight hazards with reflective tape when necessary.
- Keep Your Stairways Clear
Stairways should have handrails to reduce the risk of injuries. Bottom and top stairs should be marked with reflective tape and any unsecured rugs or carpets should be removed from landings or the stairs themselves. Keeping stairways clear, well-lit and free from unsecured objects is advisable.
- Require that Employees Wear Proper Footwear
Employees should always wear appropriate footwear for the workplace environment. Shoes should always cover an employees feet and have proper traction.
- Provide Step Stools and Ladders
Employees should be provided with ladders and accessible step stools to help reach heights safely. This will reduce chances that an employee or a customer will rely on unstable chairs, desks or tables.
- Manage Your Cords
Internet, power and phone cords can create a risk if they are run across walkways. Run cables behind walls or under carpets to keep them hidden.
- Be Vigilant in Checking Floor Conditions
Repair and remedy any floor condition problems immediately. Make sure there are no cracks, holes or other obstacles on the ground inside and outside of the workplace. If you are unable to fix problem areas immediately, be sure to place warning signs around any potential hazards.
- Use Non-Skid Throw Rugs on Slippery Areas
Adding non-skid throw rugs can help reduce accident potential in areas that are splash-prone. Rugs can remedy slippery situations, but should have non-skid padding underneath of it to prevent the rug from slipping.
- Immediately Clean Up Spills
If a spill occurs in the workplace, it should be cleaned up immediately. If a substance is allowed to penetrate a floor surface, there is the possibility that it may create a more slippery surface. Immediately place signage around the spill and clean it up.
While most workplace slips, trips and falls are preventable, Wittmer & Linehan PLLC understands that accidents happen. If you are involved in a slip-and-fall accident at work, call us to better understand your rights. We strive to help injured victims receive just compensation.