Falls, according to OSHA and the CDC, can occur in pretty much any type of workplace setting. Trips, slips, and falls also have the potential to contribute to head injuries and other serious or even fatal injuries, which is why you’ll want to make an effort to prevent workplace falls from happening in the first place whenever possible. Here’s what you can do to turn this goal into a reality.
Clear Inside/Outside Pathways
Any pathway that’s commonly used by employees and customers should be kept clear. This includes ones inside where workers normally travel to perform their duties, get supplies, or transfer items from one location to another. Exterior pathways should also be kept clear of debris.
Look for Potential Fall Hazards
Do a regular inspection of your workplace to look for common fall hazards. Such hazards typically include unsecured rugs or carpets, power, Internet, and phone cords that aren’t secured or neatly tied or grouped together, and equipment or office furniture that’s awkwardly placed or positioned.
Make Sure Correct Shoes Are Worn
In some work environments, preventing workplace falls means having the right footwear. Shoes with better traction, for example, would be appropriate for a work environment where floors tend to be slippery, or where workers routinely travel in and out of a building.
Bonus Tip: In office settings, it may be appropriate to place reasonable restrictions on high heels and other types of shoes that tend to contribute to falls.
Steps and other fall hazards can be hidden or not clearly visible to busy employees not paying close attention. This is why having sufficient indoor and outdoor lighting is important in work environments. Strategically placed spotlights or illuminated steps are among the lighting options that can work well in some workplaces.
Have Common Sense Rules for Ladders
If ladders and step stools have to be used regularly in your workplace, make sure they are used correctly. This goal can be accomplished with periodic ladder safety training, making sure someone else is there to hold the ladder in place when it’s being used, and posting instructions for safe ladder/step stool use.
Bonus Tip: It’s also a good idea to make sure proper options for getting to higher areas are available to prevent employees from using unsafe alternatives like desks or chairs.
The risk of falls in the workplace can also be reduced with proper signage if there are areas that tend to get slippery. Non-skid throw rugs can be helpful in such areas as well. Lastly, workplace falls may become less of an issue if there is a clear policy in place to clean up spills quickly and take other sensible steps to mitigate fall risks.