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Your Health & Safety Strategy, Falls, Slips & Trips

Posted By Kerry Budworth on 2015-10-08 11:08

Preventing Slips, Trips, and Falls at Your Workplace

Work-related falls happen across all industries in the UK, including construction, office, and warehousing . Falls, slips, or tripping accidents are usually simple enough but they can be costly to employers and the health of employees. These accidents can often be prevented and you should pay strong attention to them as part of your overall health and safety strategy. To do so though, it helps to understand why the accidents happen and what steps can be taken to avoid them. So lets look at the hazards that often cause the accidents and how they may be avoided.

Slip Hazards

Slip hazards are the usual suspects that we pretty much all know, wet floors, oily spills, mud and seasonally ice all contribute to slipping hazards that may be present in the workplace. It is imperative that when a spill occurs, employees should have the ability to clean it or report the problem immediately. Ensure that there are large wet floor signs or cones in order that others can be alerted to a spill and make sure they are used. You should make it clear to all members of staff that any spills are their concern, everyone in the organisation should understand that any spills they spot are their responsibility to report. In this way, no spill will go ignored. 

Acquire and place anti-slip mats in entrances and any areas where there may be a potential for oil, grease, or water accumulation. Be careful though, if and when the mat begins to age ensure that it is replaced. Because the edges of the mat can end up as a potential trip hazard as it ages.

Wet or slippery floors may become a frequent problem in the warehouse environment, rain or snow is easily brought inside by employees or forklifts. Lubricant oils and grease from forklifts, machinery or stored materials can also add to the risk of slipping. It is important that you consider slip-resistant footwear as part of your personal protection equipment to reduce the risk of injury from slips for all warehouse employees.

If an area will be unavoidably wet or slippery because of a manufacturing process, a work process or industry type, it is important to consider how the environment can be made safer. You should consider specialist industrial-grade floor mats which can provide a safer surface,  grooved or patterned mats add traction. You should also consider patterned concrete and drainage styles that help to keep liquids off the surface. The most important thing is that every worker should know that they need to report problems quickly to reduce the chance of an accident occurring.

Trip Hazards

Trips often are caused by cluttered floors, bad cable control or poor visibility. Material around work areas is a constant issue as is rubbish build up. Cables such as extension cords and laptop power cables are a constant source of trips. It is important that employees ensure materials do not pile up around work areas or high traffic walkways. Any full or empty boxes need to be stored immediately after use.

All cables need to be kept tidy, if they have to cross a walkway, they need to be marked by a caution sign in order that they are highly visible to passer-bys. Walkways need to be kept clear of tools or materials. Bright lighting in aisles  and work areas will also reduce the potential for a fall.

Be aware of holes in the floor, either designed or accidental. Any openings in the floor must be covered to keep workers from tripping or falling through. Keep holes covered or barricaded to prevent the risk of accidents, again every employee needs to understand that they have the responsibility to report any issues immediately.

Fall Hazards

Falls are a leading cause of injury in particular on construction sites. Falls often occur when workers ignore important safety measures and they can occur in any industry.  For instance, typically in an office setting materials or supplies on high cabinets can pose a problem. You need to ensure that you have sturdy step ladders or steps for climbing purposes so workers do not use desks or chairs to reach them.

In warehousing a simple ladder propped against a shelf is not a safe solution. It is far better and safer to invest in rolling platform ladders. It is incumbent upon you as an employer to ensure that industrial ladders are available and used properly if needed. If workers are working at height it is important that you supply personal fall arrest equipment, its more important that the staff should use it.

Fall protection is required when workers are working above the ground or floor level. The regulations vary for both commercial and residential work. In general industry, employees must wear fall protection when working at elevations of 4 feet or higher. You should familiarise yourself and your staff with the safety requirements and rules for using safety devices, you also need to ensure they are actually followed.

Slipping, tripping, or falling make up the largest portion of all accidents in general industry. These accidents hurt your employees, damage your productivity and hurt your business financially. Having the right safety products and equipment available helps to keep your workers safe. Train employees in the correct use of personal protective equipment. With the correct safety items, training, and enforcement, accidents can be greatly reduced.

At HealthScreen we offer Health & Safety in the workplace services in Leicester and across the UK. We can help you with your health and safety strategy and offer advice and assistance to you on how you can implement your policy. If you are interested, or if you would just like to ask a few questions or get some information, call us on 01455 234 600 or contact us online now. 

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