According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Injury Facts 2014, falls are one of the leading causes of unintentional injuries in the United States. In your business it is imperative to maintain safe conditions for employees and customers alike. The Armstrong Company Insurance Consultants recommends developing a slip and fall prevention program to help keep your employees and customers safe. A managed approach to slips and falls will help with Liability and Workers’ Compensation claim costs.
Below we have highlighted common risk areas to consider when developing a Slip & Fall plan for your business: (Sources: National Safety Council, Risk Control from Liberty Mutual)
Know the Risks (common locations for falls)
- Cluttered hallways
- Areas with heavy traffic
- Uneven surfaces
- Areas prone to wetness or spills (kitchen or pool area)
- Unguarded heights
- Snow, ice & slush build up areas
Fall Prevention Tips
- Clean up spills immediately
- Stay off freshly mopped floors (have signage where appropriate)
- Secure electrical and phone cords out of traffic areas
- Remove small throw rugs or use non-skid mats to keep them from slipping
- Select footwear materials in consideration of the floor material and surface conditions expected on the job
- Arrange furniture to provide open walking pathways
- Keep drawers and cabinet doors closed at all times
- Remove tripping hazards from stairs and walkways
- Ensure adequate lighting both indoors and outdoors
- Remove debris from exterior walkways
- Periodically check the condition of floors, pool sides, walkways and steps. Repair damages immediately.
- Always keep at least three points of contact with the ladder (i.e. two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand).
- Place the base of all ladders on a firm, solid surface.
- A straight or extension ladder should be placed 1 foot away from the surface it rests against for every 4 feet of ladder height.
- When climbing, always face the ladder and grip the rungs, not the side rails.
- Climb down a ladder one rung at a time.
- Do not climb any ladder or stool with tools in hand. Instead, use a tool belt.
- Do not lean or overreach the ladder. Rather, reposition it closer to the work space.
- Tie down a ladder when using it outdoors and do not use in windy conditions or inclement weather.
Housekeeping and Maintenance
- Have specific procedures in place for floor cleaning considering each of the different surface types to be cleaned and with the specific floor contaminants in mind.
- Determine an appropriate floor cleaning schedule by identifying floor conditions that are present during various times of the day. Identifying the optimum time of day for cleaning to take place reduces the chance of slips and falls.
- Perform occasional testing of floor surfaces to monitor slip resistance levels and to determine the effectiveness of your floor cleaning protocol.
- Train appropriate staff members in inspection and maintenance protocol for every-day as well as emergency conditions. The trained team should understand the proper safe handling and disposal of chemicals and solutions along with the proper record keeping and reporting process of related issues to housekeeping and maintenance.
Set Behavioral Controls
- Identify and report potential hazards to appropriate supervision
- Maintain “sweep logs” or perform routine inspections, including unannounced inspections, and record the results
- Publicly congratulate and recognize employees in best-performing departments
- Measure hazards and cleanliness of each department
- Hold first-line supervisors accountable for hazards in their departments
Warnings & Signage
- Provide warnings or signage whenever a slip and fall hazard has been identified and leave in place until appropriate corrective action has be taken.
- Provide barricades and warning signs to isolate processes in hazardous areas.
- Provide enough trash containers located close to points of generation of waste. If trash containers are not close, waste materials will probably end up on the floor to be swept up later.
- Select mats with edges that will not curl by design
- Select mats with non-slip backing that resists movement
- Select mats that guard against damage to underlying floor surface caused by mold and mildew
The Armstrong Company Insurance Consultants (License #0440075)