Health & Safety: Slip and Fall Prevention

We here at Jim Black Construction care about the health and safety of our colleagues and our customers, so we have decided to start a series of tips that can benefit everyone.

In today’s post, we are discussing the dangers of slip and fall accidents, and some safety tips to avoid this situation as much as possible.

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Alarmingly, slip and fall accidents are the second highest cause for accidental deaths, second only to motor vehicle accidents. There is a whopping 15% of slip and fall deaths every single year. Of that 15%, trade and service industry jobs account for 60% of those accidents- which explains why this issue is very close to our hearts. Even when falls don’t result in death, they are the most common cause of a traumatic brain injury, which is also highly undesirable. Sadly, falls are also the most common cause of all non-fatal injuries in the U.S. This results in over 8 million emergency room visits a year, costing an average of $20,000 per accident and an average of 31 days of work lost.

According to reliableplant.com, these are the leading causes of slip and fall accidents:

Wet or greasy floors
Dry floors with wood dust or powder
Uneven walking surfaces
Polished or freshly waxed floors
Loose flooring, carpeting or mats
Transition from one floor type to another
Missing or uneven floor tiles and bricks
Damaged or irregular steps; no handrails
Sloped walking surfaces
Shoes with wet, muddy, greasy or oily soles
Clutter
Electrical cords or cables
Open desk or file cabinet drawers
Damaged ladder steps
Ramps and gang planks without skid-resistant surfaces
Metal surfaces – dock plates, construction plates
Weather hazards – rain, sleet, ice, snow, hail, frost
Wet leaves or pine needles
So what can you do to avoid that? For starters, vigilance is key. It is always important to be aware of your surroundings. Do your best to not text and walk, as it could distract you from things in front of you or things below you. We have all been guilty of being so engulfed in a text message that we end up walking into someone (or something…i.e. a pole).

image found at androidpit.com

Doing your best to stay alert and aware is a great way to avoid several perils. For those of you on a job, make sure you are not carrying too much at once. Overwhelming yourself could also cause you to go off balance, and when that happens, you won’t have your hands available to brace your fall, resulting in a more aggressive injury.

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Another thing to keep in mind is the type of footwear you have on. Shoes, especially women’s shoes, tend to have a flat bottom with no grip, which is prone to slipping on all surfaces, not just wet surfaces. For men and women in service or trade occupations, it is imperative that your shoes have tight grips and are not worn out or worn down. This will ensure that you are as safe as possible when walking on slippery or wet floors.

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However, the best method would be prevention. In your home or office areas, make sure to keep your parking lots and sidewalks clean, i.e. shoveled, raked, salted etc. When indoors, make sure that you are maintaining good housekeeping policies. If there is a spill, make sure it is cleaned up immediately or that everyone is aware of its presence while you look for the proper tools to clean it. Also make sure to keep all areas well-lit and clutter free. It is hard to avoid objects if they are all over the place or if you can’t see them.

Accidents happen, and sometimes they truly are unavoidable, but taking extra precautions will always better your odds, and we want the odds to be ever in your favor (especially when it comes to safety!).

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