Risk Reduction 101: Slips, Trips and Falls
Nearly three million workplace injuries were reported among private industry employers in 2010, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. These injuries can be expensive to your business — measured in lost productivity, decreased employee morale and increased risk as well as hard-dollar costs.
How expensive is it? According to the 2011 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, the most disabling workplace injuries and illnesses in 2009 amounted to $50.1 billion in direct U.S. workers’ compensation costs.
High on the list of injuries are those caused by slips, trips and falls. In fact, they account for 15% of all accidental deaths, and are the leading cause of workers' compensation claims according to the U.S. Department of Labor. They also represent the primary cause of lost days from work.
Prevention: The best defense
The first step to reducing the risk of slips, trips and falls is to conduct a thorough workplace inspection. Look for safety issues and potential hazards related to these three major areas:
Basic best practices can help reduce the primary sources of workplace accidents. Are spills or leaks cleaned up immediately? Do workers have adequate lighting for the tasks performed? Are walkways and doorways kept free of clutter and have proper matting?
Inspect for uneven walking surfaces, holes, broken or loose floor tiles, and wrinkled rugs or carpet. Consider installing slip-resistant flooring in high-traffic areas, removing or replacing worn carpet and painting metal decking with an abrasive-filled coating to help improve safety and reduce the risk of falling.
Depending on your type of workplace, anti-slip footwear could be a smart requirement — for example, in manufacturing or food service environments where walking surfaces can often be wet or oily.
Don't let easily remedied safety issues affect workplace productivity and morale. By making safety inspections a regular part of your workplace routine, you can help prevent hazards from injuring your employees…or your company’s bottom line.