When it comes to falling, most of us have had close calls but have been lucky enough to get our balance before it happened. There are more than 3 million disabling injuries each year in the workplace, and more than 1 in 10 is because of trips, slips, and falls. In the U.S. construction industry, falls are the leading cause of fatalities. More than 100,000 injuries at construction sites are the results of falls.
What can we do about them? If any of these hazards exist at your workplace, fix them:
- Slippery floors from spills. Clean up wet spots immediately. Put up signs where floors have recently been mopped. If you work on slippery surfaces, wear shoes that have slip-resistant soles.
- Obstructed view. Do not carry bulky or heavy objects that you can’t see over.
- Drawers and file cabinets left open. Watch for open drawers and close them when they aren’t being used.
- Loose carpet or bad flooring. This is unsafe for all employees. Insist that they be repaired immediately.
- Stairs, ramps and escalators. Always use handrails. These should have adequate lighting.
- Improper use of ladders. Always use safety rules when standing on a ladder. Hold on with one hand if you need to be higher while doing a task. Do not use an office chair as a ladder. Stepladders work quite well for reaching items on top of shelves or file cabinets.
- Icy sidewalks. How many workers have fallen just trying to get to their jobs? It should be the responsibility of the employer to see that salt is placed on the sidewalks before workers (or customers) arrive.
- Clutter. Whether you work in an office or warehouse, there’s no reason to leave things sitting in traffic areas.
- Improper anchorage for those who work in construction. Lanyards, body harnesses, and other means of security must be used to ensure workers’ safety. A local roofing company employee recently fell to his death, when the roof collapsed, and he was not wearing a harness.
Let’s all do our part to see that our workspaces are safe for the other person, and the proper equipment is used as needed.