According to Injury Facts 2012 Edition, falls account for more than 8.7 million emergency room visits in the United States each year. As part of National Safety Month and the National Safety Council (NSC) “Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls Week,” safety products distributor Grainger offers five suggestions to help create a safer environment at work and at home:
Five Tips to Help Prevent Slips, Trips and Falls
1. Create good housekeeping practices
Proper housekeeping is a routine. These simple steps can help create an effective housekeeping program:
- Plan ahead: Know what needs to be done, who is going to do it and how the work area should look when the work is completed.
- Assign responsibilities: While it is preferable for individuals to clean up after themselves, it may be necessary to assign a specific person or group to clean up.
- Move items in cabinets: Put things used most often on lower shelves, about waist level.
- Always keep objects off the floor: Pick up papers, books, shoes, boxes or other things that are on the floor.
2. Reduce wet or slippery surfaces
Accidents on walking surfaces account for a significant portion of injuries reported by state agencies. Most often, injuries occur on parking lots, sidewalks, food preparation areas and showers.
- Keep parking lots and sidewalks free of debris and in good repair.
- Use adhesive striping material or anti-skid paint outdoors and anti-skid adhesive tape indoors.
- Use moisture-absorbent mats with beveled edges in entrance areas. Make sure they have backing material that will not slide on the floor. Use proper area rugs or mats for food preparation areas.
- Put a nonslip rubber mat or self-stick strips on the floor of showers and tubs. Install grab bars inside the tub.
3. Avoid creating obstacles in aisles and walkways
Obstacles, clutter, materials and equipment in aisles, corridors, entranceways and stairwells also contribute to trips injuries.
- Keep all work areas, passageways, storerooms and service areas clean and orderly. Close file cabinets and drawers after use.
- Coil or tape wires such as cables, air hoses, extension cords, lamp and phone cords next to the wall. Do not string materials across hallways or designated aisles.
- Always keep objects off stairs. Fix loose, broken or uneven steps and make sure that the carpet is firmly attached to every step.
4. Create and maintain proper lighting
Poor lighting in the workplace or at home can contribute to causing an increase in accidents.
- Use proper illumination in staircases, ramps, hallways, basements, construction areas and dock areas; keep poorly lit walkways clear of clutter and obstructions.
- Keep work areas well lit and clean. Keep areas around light switches clear and accessible.
- Repair fixtures, switches and cords immediately if they malfunction.
- At home, place a lamp close to the bed where it is easy to reach.
5. Wear proper shoes
Proper shoes play a big part in preventing falls. Pay attention to the slickness of the soles and the type of heels; tie shoelaces correctly. At work, educate employees on the appropriate footwear for their duties.
For more information about preventing slips, trips and falls, visit Grainger’s Safety Resource or the National Safety Council.