Slips and trips are common safety incidents in many workplaces. In fact, CCOHS says that, in Canada, over 42,000 workers get injured annually due to falls—66% of which happen on the same level. This number represents about 17% of the time-loss injuries that were accepted by workers’ comp boards across Canada.
Slips and trips are hardly unique to Canadian workplaces, though.
That’s why the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) recently launched a Campaign for the Prevention of Work Accidents due to Slips and Trips on the Same Level 2014.
Slips, trips and falls are the biggest cause of incidents in all European economic sectors, with falls on the same level being highest in manufacturing then in transport and storage, construction and trade. Slips, trips and falls were responsible for more than half of all major incidents (56%) and 31% of absences over seven days.
They’re also the most frequent cause of incidents among women at work and elderly people.
The EU-OSHA inspection and information campaign is targeted at both employers and workers. It’ll include educational interactive software depicting situations where slips and trips are possible, along with the solutions to prevent them as well as a campaign calendar for 2015 and a poster.
Here are some tips for employers from EU-OSHA for preventing slips, trips and falls:
- Good housekeeping. Keep the working environment tidy, with floors and access routes kept clear of obstacles. Remove trash regularly and keep work areas clean. Use cleaning methods and equipment that are suitable for the surface being treated. (See, Housekeeping Requirements under the OHS Laws.)
- Lighting. Ensure adequate lighting levels, positioning lights to ensure all floor areas are evenly lit and all potential hazards, obstructions and spills can be clearly seen.
- Inspections. Floors should be checked for damage regularly and maintenance carried out when necessary. Potential hazards include holes, cracks and loose carpets and mats. (Use this slips, trips and falls inspection checklist.)
- Floors. Floor surfaces should be suitable for the work carried out, such as resistant to oil and chemicals used in production processes. Coating or chemically treating existing floors can improve their slip-resistant properties.
- Stairways. Handrails, slip-resistant covers on steps, high visibility and non-slip markings on the front edges of steps and good lighting can all help to prevent slips and trips on stairs.
- Spills. Clean up spills immediately using an appropriate cleaning method. Use warning signs where the floor is wet and arrange alternative routes.
- Obstructions. When possible, remove them. If that’s not possible, then use suitable barriers and warning notices.
- Cords. Place equipment so power cords don’t cross pedestrian routes. Use covers to securely fix cords to surfaces.
- Footwear. Workers should wear suitable footwear. Take account of the type of job, floor surface, typical floor conditions and the slip-resistant properties of the soles.