Slip and fall accidents in the workplace
When The Floor Is Not Your Enemy
Slips and falls accidents result in injuries that can delay production, reduce productivity, disrupt the company’s business plan, or cost lives. All these outcomes can hinder a company’s financial health, making it vital they avoid these accidents. The financial costs of an injury can be as much as $11,000 or more depending on the extent of the injury. Injuries that cause productivity losses, such as those from broken limbs, can cost up to $300 per day in wages. This rises to $900 per day of lost time if the employee is out of work for longer than a month.
Under most circumstances, a “slip and fall” accident in the workplace may seem like an unlikely event. But they do happen, and more often than you think. Most slip and fall accidents happen in common areas of the workplace. These areas are often overlooked during routine cleaning maintenance duties. Additionally, the most common slip-and-fall accidents do not always result from recognizable hazards that are easy to identifiable or correctable. Oftentimes, they are due to hidden hazards that are known only to building personnel who are in frequent contact with the hazardous surfaces.
Slip and fall accidents in the workplace are common when floors are not properly cleaned or wet when someone walks in. There are many reasons why companies fail to keep their workplace safe for employees. From the lack of cleaning supply, not properly training employees on slip and falls, etc.
What are the main reasons why slips, trips, and falls occur in a workplace
As any personal injury lawyer will tell you, slips and falls happen when you least expect them…and there are a million different reasons that people slip and fall, in any number of locations.
Here are some of the main reasons why slips, trips, and falls occur in a workplace:
- Improper Flooring. Floors are made of wood, tile, marble, or concrete. Cracks or uneven surfaces may increase the risk of slips, trips, or falls. Lifting and moving heavy material onto a slippery surface is another frequent cause of slips and falls. The floor should be checked for deep puddles or oil leaks.
- Poor Workplace Design. Poor design usually means poor layout. It also includes poor lighting, defective equipment, and improperly maintained surfaces that are easy to trip over or slip-on.
- Hazardous Chemicals. Avoid walking on chemicals when they are mixed or in storage. Chemicals may increase the risk of slips, trips, and falls if they are not properly stored or mixed by hand.
- Lack of Concentration. Workers should avoid distractions while working. Distractions can lead to an increased risk of slipping, tripping, or falling due to lack of concentration.
- Lack of Observation Skills. Workers should maintain their focus by constantly looking around them. This may increase the risk of slips, trips, and falls if the sight of obstacles is blocked.
- Lack of Safety Awareness. Workers must know they need to be careful when working at heights or in risky, high-risk areas. They should avoid distractions and try not to look away from hazards around them.
- Inadequate Resources for Accident Prevention or Control. Employers must have enough resources to adequately prepare for accidents by having fall prevention equipment, such as safety nets, mats, and railings in place.
- Disruptive Noise. Variations in noise can prevent people from hearing warning signals of dangers such as slippery steps, glass cracks, or water puddles. This may increase the risk of slips, trips, and falls.
What areas are more susceptible to slip, trip, and fall accidents?
Most slip and fall accidents happen in common areas of the workplace. These areas are often overlooked during routine cleaning maintenance duties.
One of the most common areas where a slip and fall accident may occur is at a crowded intersection. These areas can include pedestrian walkways, as well as driveways, parking lots, loading docks, and employee parking locations.
In most instances, these intersections are places that people will naturally walk or drive through on a regular basis. If there is a dangerous accumulation of liquid puddle, fuel spill, oil spill, or snow present on the surface of the ground in these locations, workers will generally have no reason to believe that any danger is lurking there, so they may often walk or drive through without paying attention to how they’re going about it.
The other equally common location where you will find a slip and fall accident is at the base of an escalator. Vacuum trucks are frequent visitors to places like this, and they often do not fully clean out debris from around the area.
Longer escalators may also pose a risk for injuries. The length of them may make someone feel that they have more time to pay attention to their footing.
In addition to common workplace areas, there are other places where you might find yourself unexpectedly injured from a slip and fall accident. These include:
- In stores and malls – One of the most frequently visited places where people live is a shopping mall. This frequently includes an area where you will encounter escalators that lead to higher levels of a store or mall basement. In addition, you might encounter wide stairwell accesses throughout the mall as well as elevators that service these areas. If one of these areas is wet or icy, there is no reason to believe that most people will be able to make it through without slipping or falling.
- Personal residence – This most frequently occurs in the kitchen, where floors are washed on a regular basis. If something like wax or soap has not been completely rinsed off of the floor, they can often end up in places where they are not expected. This commonly happens with towel dispensers, which can leave residue on the floor that is difficult to see.
- The workplace – There are several different locations that may be prone to slip and fall accidents at work, depending on what type of business you have. This can include entryways, stairwells, loading docks, and even the office itself.
How to prevent slips, trips, and fall accidents in the workplace?
Keeping your workplace free from slip, trip, and fall hazards can be a challenge especially if you have a large facility. But accidents caused by these hazards can lead to serious injuries. If you own a business or manage a workplace, you need to protect your employees from these hazards. Making the effort to control the danger of slips, trips, and falls in the workplace is essential not only for employee safety but also for your business liability. Here are a few tips to prevent falls in the workplace:
- Keep floors dry and free of tripping hazards
You should make sure spills are cleaned up immediately and that wet floors are mopped regularly. If possible, consider using non-slip tiles in areas where workers may be walking.
- Wear non-slip footwear in areas with a high likelihood of falling
Non-slip footwear is available at most stores that sell work boots or shoes or you can request a pair from your supervisor or safety manager if you don’t think they’re available at your local store.
- Make sure that equipment and furniture are in good working condition or promptly repaired if it is damaged.
- You may also want to consider having security cameras installed in locations where there is a higher risk of falling, such as near storage units and around factory floors.
- Be aware of your surroundings and watch where workers are standing so you don’t accidentally bump into them while moving around the workplace.
- Keep walkways clear so fallen objects can be removed promptly.
If possible, install mirrors to let workers see behind them if they have to walk in the same area frequently to complete their work duties. If you have an open warehouse, for instance, it’s a good idea to have reflective strips installed on walls or roofing so workers can safely look around them.
- It’s a good idea to keep stairwells free of clutter so they remain clear so people don’t trip and fall.
What is the true cost of slip, trip, and fall accidents to business
Any business owner knows that a slip-and-fall accident can do a number on their bottom line. It may even mean the cost of losing customers, paying penalties, and increased insurance premiums. When a company experiences a slip-and-fall accident in the workplace, everyone takes note. But only some companies have the foresight to learn from these accidents and adjust accordingly.
There is a lot of information floating around containing statistics on the cost of slip, trip, and fall accidents to business, but not enough detail on how injuries occur in the workplace. Maybe this would plant a seed in employers’ minds that it is important to stock up cleaning supplies, properly train workers on how to be safe, and ensure that they provide adequate lighting in all work areas.
Takeaway: Slips, trips, and fall accidents are common in the workplace. Under most circumstances, it may seem like an unlikely event. But they do happen, and more often than you think. In order to reduce the number of these types of accidents, many companies have to properly train their employees on proper safety practices, stock up on Spill absorbents like SPILLKING ABSORBENT POWDER to help keep floors clean from liquid spills at all times.