Slips, Trips, and Falls
Safety and housekeeping are related as closely as hand is to glove. When our housekeeping habits are poor, we can expect a higher incidence of injuries, not to mention quality defects and the decrease in productivity. When including the additional cost of insurance and potential OSHA citations, the expense of poor housekeeping can exceed much more than the time it takes throughout the day to keep a clean and organized work area.
Our shop and project work areas are typically the first notable impression a visitor has of Wachs. If our areas are noticeably clean and well organized, it is a good indication that Wachs Services overall safety and quality programs are effective and it also denotes our professionalism.
Proper housekeeping is a routine; it happens throughout a work shift. It is an ongoing procedure that is part of our daily performance.
Wachs uses three simple steps towards keeping our work areas clean and organized:
Plan ahead - Know what needs to be done, who’s going to do it and what the particular work area should look like when you are done.
Responsibility and Accountability - Each person is responsible for their work area.
Audit - We hold each other accountable through peer-checks and management audits throughout the shift.
Wet or Slippery Surfaces
Walking surfaces account for a significant portion of injuries reported by state agencies. The most frequently reported types of surfaces where these injuries occur include:
Sidewalks or unpaved walkways
Floors in general
Traction on walking surfaces can change considerably when conditions change. The changing conditions that can contribute to slips and falls include chemical spills, process upsets, weather, surface changes (i.e., concrete to gravel), uneven walkways, etc.
Common solutions to help prevent slips and falls include:
Clean up spills immediately.
Display “Wet Floor” or warning signs as needed ahead of problem areas.
Prepare surfaces for weather-related events or suspend access.
At surface change that could cause slips, signage before a change to draw attention to provide opportunities to correct.
Remove uneven walkways or, if change is not possible, use paint or other material to draw attention to the uneven surface.
Human behavior is the most difficult factor to control. It’s human nature to let our guard down temporarily and be distracted by random thoughts or doing multiple activities. Being in a hurry will result in walking too fast or running, which increases the chances of a slip, trip or fall. Taking shortcuts, not watching where one is going, using a cell phone, carrying materials which obstruct the vision, wearing sunglasses in low-light areas, not using designated walkways, and speed are common factors in many on-the-job injuries. It’s ultimately up to each individual to plan ahead, stay alert and pay attention.
Looking at recent studies and statistics, fall fatalities are nearly equally divided between men and women.
These injuries account for:
Fractures result from 5% of all people who fall
Leading cause of hospital visits: 21.3%
Over 8 million hospital emergency room visits
The primary cause of lost days from work
Leading cause of workers compensation
As with most injuries, whether at home or work, slip, trips, and falls are preventable. Being aware of your surroundings and reacting defensively and cautiously can be the difference between getting safely from point A to B or nursing an injury.