SLIPS, TRIPS AND FALLS AT WORK

Hopefully you already brushed up on your basic slips, trips and falls safety. Now that we've got you thinking about it, here's some more detailed information about being safe in your workplace. If you're the safety expert for your employer you may also want to check out this resource from BWC.

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DID YOU KNOW?


A slip or trip occurs when you lose traction. The unfortunate result of that is often a fall. That seems basic, but it's important to remember if you're going to try and reduce the chance of it happening.

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COMMON CAUSES

  • Slippery surfaces (wet, oily, icy, granules/powder);
  • Hoses or cords stretched across aisles or walkways;
  • Cluttered aisles or work areas;
  • Improper footwear;
  • Uneven surfaces (including cracks or holes);
  • Poor lighting.

Falls can also occur where you have a significant difference in heights. Examples of this include:

  • Reaching too far on a ladder;
  • A ladder sliding out from its base;
  • Falling from a stairway;
  • Falling from a platform or scaffold;
  • Falling through floor and roof openings;
  • Falling from trucks and trailers;
  • Losing your balance while standing on a box or chair;
  • Jumping down vs. three-point system.

USE THE THREE POINTS' SYSTEM

A three points' system means that both feet and at least one hand, or both hands and at least one foot, are in contact with a solid surface (like the ladder or a platform) while climbing up or down.

AVOIDING ACCIDENTS

  • Take responsibility for yourself. If you don't care about your safety, who will?
  • Be a guardian angel for your coworkers by addressing safety issues when you see them.
  • Make housekeeping everyone's responsibility.
  • Keep work areas clean and remove hazards such as extension cords and hoses from walkways.
  • Let management know if light bulbs are burned out.

ELEVATED SURFACES

  • Get properly trained and follow safe work practices when working on elevated surfaces.
  • Use standard guard railing for any work done above 4 feet, or 6 feet for construction.
  • Maintain and repair bases and railings of portable stairways, ladders and scaffolds.
  • Only use scissors lifts after reading and following manufacturer directions. Never operate without guardrails and consider fall-prevention equipment, such as a full body harness and a lanyard connected to a manufacturer's approved anchorage point.
  • For other lifts, such as boom lifts, a restraint system is still recommended; but if working above a certain height, fall protection is required. Always follow manufacturer directions.
  • An employer may comply with OSHA's fall protection requirements for aerial lifts in one of three ways:
    • Use of a body belt with a tether anchored to the boom or basket (fall restraint system);
    • Use of a body harness with a tether (fall restraint system);
    • Use of a body harness with a lanyard (fall arrest system).
  • Firmly attach lift truck safety cages to the mast, have a solid floor and standard guard railing. Do not perform work outside the railing without using a restraint.
  • Order pickers should use the manufacturer's provided equipment and remain within the platform provided. Any deviation will violate company policy.

Did we mention the most important thing to remember when using equipment is to read and follow the manufacturer directions?

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