Keeping Employees On Their Feet – Preventing Same Level Slip, Trip & Falls (STF)
Employee injuries involving same level Slips-Trips-Falls (STF), are one of the most common, and most preventable within the pool. This is an issue that can be easily corrected without huge expenses or elaborate policies. STF incidents are not as glamorous as vehicle accidents so they don’t receive the same attention, but they can be just as devastating. STF can happen anywhere, in any department.
The first step is to identify hazards in all areas. This includes the obvious hazards as well as potential hidden hazards that may not have surfaced yet. Walkway and floor surface inspections should be next. Keep it simple with a pen and paper for notes, and a camera for documentation. This should be done at least once a quarter as part of your routine facility inspection process.
Good housekeeping is a must. Indoor walkways, hallways and isles, common paths of egress, should be open and free of clutter. (TIP: Ask your local Fire Marshal to assist) Look for extension cords and clusters of wiring in and around desks and work areas. Loose, bunched-up, frayed or torn seams for carpet are hazards. Check entrances and transition areas where the walking surface changes from carpet to hard floor and entrance foyers that might get wet where mats or rugs should be used. Hard floor surfaces can become slippery with age. Improper cleaning techniques can also contribute to slippery floors. Check for proper lighting in dark areas.
Workshops, auto & mechanical production areas are impossible to keep spotless, but good organization and housekeeping still applies. Many incidents are due to clutter & poor housekeeping. Check for oil & fluid leaks, overspray, and spills. Make sure spill kits, mops, brooms, and vacuums are available and used. Proper footwear (non-slip soles) are important in these environments. Never assume someone else has seen the hazard and they will take care of it.
Sidewalks and parking lots are huge problem areas. Height variations at seams, cracks, potholes, tree roots, loose parking stops with broken rebar. Landscaping shedding slippery foliage, improperly aimed sprinklers, poor lighting at night or early mornings, can contribute to third party liability as well as WC employee injuries.
Foster an environment of “Situational Awareness” among all employees. This means simply paying attention to your surroundings and not getting pre-occupied with a single task or “tunnel vision”. Never stand on a chair or office furniture for overhead reaching when a stepstool or ladder should be used.
By Steve Gailbreath, Loss Prevention Consultant