Common Causes and Solutions for Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents are the leading cause of lawsuits and workers compensation claims for US businesses. Injuries from accidents can contribute to lifelong pain and suffering, as well as a business’s loss of revenue. For events that have such lasting consequences, accidents are remarkably preventable. Nearly every recorded accident was as a result of negligence or error. The responsibility to prevent injury does not just lie with a business, but with everyone involved. By being aware of the most common causes of these accidents, most slip and falls can be prevented.
Spills are a primary cause of workplace accidents. Though some spills are unavoidable depending on the environment, how they are contained and dealt with can be the difference between a day that ends in injury reports and one where everything goes well. Spills that are witnessed by staff members should be met with three steps that ensure a safe working or retail environment.
Step One: Remain with the spill. An employee who witnesses or discovers a spill has the burden of being responsible for it. They should clean the spill if supplies are readily available. If not, they should stay with the spill to prevent anyone from slipping accidentally.
Step Two: Another employee should then be informed so that they can bring the appropriate cleaning supplies and signage.
Step Three: Once a spill has been cleaned up, wet floor signage should be placed in the area for at least half an hour to ensure the floor is completely dry.
Trip hazards are another common cause of workplace injuries. The ubiquity of tripping incidents can be attributed to workers being careless with their supplies, under the assumption that other people will be engaged enough to notice if they are about to run into something. In retail environments, trip hazards tend to be the result of customers leaving products in aisles. In either case, these hazards can usually be discovered and rectified in a timely manner by employees performing regular spot checks. Workplaces can be divided into zones or quadrants that employees can be responsible for. Each zone should be under either regular or timed patrols that have the sole purpose of ensuring a safe environment. Empty boxes, tools, supplies or products for sale should be stored in appropriate areas and never left in a pedestrian area. People do not trip over objects which are not there in the first place.
Improper footwear is a leading contributor to workplace accidents. Open toed or high heeled shoes are usually discouraged in the workplace, but even work boots and athletic shoes can be hazardous if not properly maintained. Supervisors should be keenly aware of the quality and state of workers’ shoes. Worn or unbalanced soles, untied or ragged laces, and shoes with poor traction can all contribute to less than sure footing. Shoes that do not meet certain standards should be prohibited from the workplace.
Simple common sense is all that is needed to prevent certain types of slip and falls. A person being unaware of signage, walking carelessly in areas with trip hazards, and walking while looking into a smartphone can all lead to accidents.
Avoidable accidents are incredibly common workplace occurrences. By following proper procedures following spills, preventing trip hazards, using proper footwear, and being conscious of surroundings, many of the risk factors for accidents can be reduced or eliminated.