Anyone can slip when they lose their footing, trip when they catch their foot on something, and fall when they lose their balance and come down suddenly, leading to injury. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports alarming rates of slip, trip, and fall (STF) incidents in 2022. Their most recent data show that STFs are among the top causes of fatal and non-fatal injuries in the workplace, increasing by 5.6% in 2021.
“Construction and extraction occupations still account for a large portion of work-related fatalities due to slips, trips, and falls, but no industry is immune from these types of incidents,” said Beverly Covey, Senior Risk Control Manager at Safety National. “Sadly, most of them are preventable. Simple techniques like ladder safety, assessing for hazards before starting a job, and proper training can prevent these occurrences.”
Organizations should be aware of the primary causes of these accidents and how to prevent them from occurring.
Primary Hazards and Feedback Technology
STFs are one of the top accident types for workers’ compensation and general liability losses. The leading causes of these incidents include:
- Contaminants on the floor (e.g., water, grease, oil, fluid, food)
- Poor drainage from pipes and drains
- Indoor and outdoor walking surface irregularities
- Weather conditions caused by ice and snow
- Inadequate lighting
- Stairs and handrails
- Stepstools and ladders
- Tripping hazards, like clutter, including low loss cables
- Improper use of floor mat and runners
The benefits of new prevention technologies include companies’ ability to record accident details, determine hazards, and possibly incorporate corrective actions to prevent someone from slipping and falling. Some of the newest available technology includes:
- Laser technology with a combination of a scanner and software. Used by some companies to scan the accident scene, register the data, and transmit it back to the home office the same day the accident occurs.
- New audit and self-inspection software. Help conduct accident inspections using applications and quick response (QR) barcodes to track corrective actions.
- Sensor-based location beacons. Work with smartphone and tablet-based applications, as well as cloud-based software that can monitor some safety aspects of a given premise.
Common Prevention Techniques
Have employees assist with developing the STF policies, procedures, and protocol. This allows them to invest in the program’s purpose and provides more insight since they are closest to the risk and may be aware of certain blind spots. While developing employee buy-in is a great start, a few of the most common mitigation techniques include:
- Create and maintain good housekeeping practices.
- Routinely inspect the inside and outside of your location for STF hazards, and correct them as soon as possible.
- Reduce wet or slippery services.
- Avoid creating obstacles in aisles and walkways.
- Create and maintain proper lighting.
- Require employees and visitors to wear appropriate shoes.
- Remind employees and visitors to be aware of their surroundings and not to walk too fast or run.
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