In a single recent year, hospital ERs treated more than 10 million people nationwide for fall injuries, according to the CDC. Many of these injuries occur in the workplace, and many are entirely preventable.
What Is a Slip-and-Fall or Trip-and-Fall Accident?
A slip-and-fall accident happens when someone slips on a slick or unstable surface and loses their balance, causing them to fall to the ground. Trip-and-fall accidents are similar, except they usually involve someone coming into contact with an object on the floor or an uneven surface, causing them to stumble and fall.
Tips to Avoid Slip-and-Falls at Work
Here are a few tips for employers and employees to help reduce slip-and-fall accidents in the workplace:
- Reduce wet or slippery surfaces. Wet and slippery surfaces are one of the primary causes of slip-and-fall accidents at work. Any spills should be cleaned up promptly to minimize the chances of an accident.
- Create good housekeeping practices. One of the best ways to prevent slip-and-fall accidents, especially accidents involving spills, is to create good housekeeping routines. Proper clean-up guidelines should be established, spills should be cleaned up quickly, and clean-up responsibilities should be made clear.
- Wear proper shoes. Proper footwear makes a huge difference when it comes to avoiding slip-and-fall accidents. Make sure your shoes have enough grip to walk comfortably on most surfaces and wear weather-appropriate footwear if there’s rain, snow, or ice.
- Maintain proper lighting. It’s much harder to see potential fall hazards in the dark, so employers should ensure all hallways and walkways are adequately lit. Broken fixtures and burned-out lightbulbs should be fixed or replaced immediately.
- Avoid creating obstacles in aisles and walkways. Clutter, loose cords, and other obstacles can significantly increase the chances of someone suffering a slip-and-fall accident at work. Keeping walkways clear of clutter is an easy way to prevent injuries.
- Use step stools and ladders properly. Providing ladders, step stools, and other safety equipment and teaching employees how to use them properly helps keep everyone safe when trying to obtain objects located high off the floor.
- Display signage. It’s impossible to prevent any spill from ever occurring at work, but when spills happen or when floors are mopped, everyone needs to be warned about the potential danger. Placing warning signs around the affected area can help everyone avoid slipping on a wet floor.
- Install proper flooring. Choosing the right floor surface can make a big difference in minimizing slip-and-fall accidents. Tile, for example, is a lot slicker than carpeting. If you choose tile or other slippery surfaces for your workplace, consider adding non-slip mats or rugs to help avoid slips.
- Check floor conditions. Regular checks of areas where spills are likely can help prevent accidents by making it more likely that someone will spot a spill.
- Control individual behavior. Encouraging everyone in the workplace to take fall safety seriously can make a major difference in preventing accidents. Tell your employees to avoid running through hallways and pay attention to where they’re going, as these habits can help them avoid inadvertently dashing over a wet surface or colliding with another worker.
Contact Black & DePaoli for a Free Legal Consultation
If you’ve been injured in a slip-and-fall accident at work or in a business, you may be able to recover compensation from your employer or the owner of the business. Contact The Law Office of Black & DePaoli, PC, today for a free initial consultation.