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Safety in Every Step: Slips, Trips, and Falls at Work

safety at work fall injury

If you think accidents related to slips, trips, or falls only happen to children or seniors, think again. Case in point #1: It was a mistake of a worker who left the scene without firmly securing the cover of the waterway drain. An individual then stepped onto the loose cover, resulting in their foot plunging into the hole. As a result, her knee twisted and severely fractured. This injury made her bedridden for a month. Following that, several months of physiotherapy were required for their recovery. Case in point #2: Several complaints have pointed to the deteriorating floor in the leeway in the office. Yet, nothing was done to fix the issue. Then, a fateful incident transpired: a customer visiting the office slipped and sustained a head injury upon hitting the floor. He had to go through an emergency surgery due to a serious head injury, leading to a lawsuit against the company for its failure to provide a safe environment. According to statistics, a staggering 80 workers experience fall-related injuries every day. This equates to one injury occurring every 20 minutes. Of these injuries, two-thirds result from slips and trips.

falls slips and trips at work occupational injury

Slips, Trips, and Falls Slips, trips, and falls are some of the most common workplace and everyday accidents. However, they tend to be underestimated in terms of their impacts on individuals, companies, as well as society as a whole. Just like the two stories presented above, they can lead to very serious long-term health issues such as fractures, sprains, dislocations, and even head injuries. On top of that, these kinds of incidents can impose significant economic costs on healthcare systems, employers, and individuals in terms of medical bills, insurance claims, and lost productivity. In the worst-case scenario, people can lose their lives. Here are the key differences between slips, trips, and falls: Slipping occurs when your footing is lost. Tripping happens when your foot becomes entangled with or strikes an object. Falling takes place when you descend abruptly.

Common Causes of Slips, Trips, and/or Falls

  • Hazardous Flooring

Uneven or slippery surfaces, along with inadequate traction and deteriorating flooring materials, are major factors causing falls in the workplace. The situation can become even more dangerous when there are oils, liquids, or debris present.

  • Inadequate Lighting

Dark or dimly lit in the workplace can pose potential hazards. Poorly illuminated staircases, corridors, and walkways are especially risky.

  • Absence of Handrails and Guardrails

When stairs lack handrails and elevated platforms or walkways lack guardrails, the risk of falls from heights increases. To prevent such accidents, it is essential to establish the appropriate safety infrastructure.

  • Insufficient Training

Inadequate training on safe work practices and the proper use of safety equipment can heighten the risk of falls, especially in industries with elevated workspaces or complex machinery.

  • Cluttered Workspaces

Overcrowded or cluttered work areas can hinder mobility and visibility, increasing the likelihood of tripping and falling. Employers must prioritize maintaining tidy work environments.

how to prevent falls slips and trips at work occupational injury

Preventive Measures The good news about accidents related to slips, trips, and falls is that they are highly preventable. In many cases, it only takes a quick, easy measure that can dramatically reduce the risk of these accidents.

  • Maintain Clean and Dry Surfaces

Make sure all the walking surfaces are clean and dry at all times. This includes promptly cleaning up spills, leaks, and wet areas in workplaces and public places. In addition, you may want to consider using absorbent mats and rugs in areas prone to moisture.

  • Non-Slip Flooring

In areas where slipperiness is a concern, we highly recommend installing non-slip flooring materials. In areas where spills and wet conditions are common such as bathrooms, kitchens, and industrial areas, this can be particularly effective.

  • Adequate Lighting

Proper lighting is of absolute essence to reduce the risk of tripping over obstacles. Well-lit spaces allow people to identify and avoid obstacles more easily.

  • Safety Signage

The easy yet handy use of warning signs is highly effective in alerting people to potential hazards, such as wet floors or areas under maintenance. When you use a safety signage, make sure it is visible and well-maintained.

  • Clear Walkways

Cluttered walkways pose a significant risk of trips and falls. To proactively prevent accidents, maintaining clear paths by removing obstacles, debris, and unnecessary items is a must. We highly recommend conducting regular inspections and promptly addressing anything that could obstruct safe passage.

how to choose non-slip shoes for work

How About Your Shoes? Promoting footwear awareness is as important as cleaning up clutters and maintaining safe walkaways. Shoes are like your second skin: They protect you from various harm that the environment may pose to you. We can't emphasize the importance too much of individuals wearing appropriate shoes for their activities and environments. For instance, workers in construction sites should wear safety boots with slip-resistant soles, while individuals in snowy areas should choose winter boots with good traction. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) requires workers in various industries to wear slip-resistant occupational footwear as a safety precaution. However, it provides limited details about the precise definition of "slip-resistance." In general, reliable non-slip shoes incorporate resilient soles designed to prevent slipping and a textured tread pattern for enhanced traction on surfaces that are prone to wetness, grease, or slipperiness.

How Can I Tell If My Shoes Are Slip-Resistant? The best way to tell if shoes are non-slip is to check if slip resistance is indicated in the product description. While healthcare and service industry professionals frequently opt for clogs, running shoes, and similar athletic footwear, these choices may not consistently incorporate anti-slip elements. You will often find slip-resistant styles specifying that their outsoles adhere to the ASTM International F1677 standards. This certification confirms that these shoes have been meticulously tested to gauge their effectiveness on a wide range of surfaces, including wet, oily, and dry ones.

qualifications for non-slip shoes

Sole & Tread We highly recommend that you always check out the shoe soles before buying any shoes. With non-slip shoes, a good choice would be the EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) rubber outsole with a slight curvature on its edges. EVA rubber, a synthetic, foam-like material is commonly integrated into the construction of shoe outsoles and midsoles. In addition, the sole should be designed to maintain traction on the floor, even in situations where it's wet or coated in oil. In addition, check the tread pattern of your shoes. You'll often come across diminutive squiggles, circles, or hexagons on the bottom of the outsole. These designs intend to promote friction to enhance your grip on the floor. As a general principle, smaller patterns tend to offer superior slip resistance. Great Non-Slip Work Shoes Highly effective slip-resistant footwear will have:

  • Lightweight, soft, and durable EVA rubber outsoles

  • Small tread pattern

  • Padded collars

  • Water-resistant uppers

  • Orthotic footbeds with arch support

  • A cushioned, comfortable midsole

  • Adequate toe boxes

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