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How employers can help prevent costly slips, trips and falls

It happens in workplaces across the United States every day: An office employee trips over a misplaced cord, a warehouse worker slips in a puddle of fluid and a driver falls on a dangerous walkway on a loading dock. Believe it or not, slip, trip and falls are the third most common work injury here in the U.S.

In fact, these otherwise preventable mishaps take a significant financial toll on employers. Consider the following statistics:

  • The average slip, trip and fall injury costs a U.S. employer nearly $28,000
  • Slip, trip and fall accidents result in nearly 104 million lost work days a year in North America, resulting in approximately $36 billion lost per year

Fortunately, the National Safety Council working in conjunction with safety product supplier Grainger has devised a few basic safety steps that employers take to prevent devastating slips, trips and falls.

Follow proper maintenance habits

Experts advise employers to identify potential slip, trip and falls hazards unique to their business and locate areas where accidents could possibly occur. Once this is done, they recommend assigning maintenance duties -- clean up and monitoring tasks -- to groups of trustworthy individuals.

Arrange cords, cables and other equipment in a safe manner

In workplaces all over America, cables for computers, monitors, printers, surge protectors and the internet hang loosely over the back of desks, spill onto desktops or even hang over common walkways.

These arrangements can easily lead to slip, trip and falls or an employee accidently dragging valuable computer equipment onto the floor.

Experts advise employers to consider purchasing protectors, hooks or loops that allow you to safely bundle wires/cables/cords and keep cords off the ground/desks. They also advise employers to keep common walkways -- especially stairs -- clear of objects and other clutter that could catch someone off guard.

Keep slippery surfaces safe to prevent work injuries

In every workplace, there are high-traffic spots that are prone to gathering moisture. Some of the more common areas include the floors located near doors to the outside, the floors located in break rooms and the floors located near water fountains.

Experts recommend that employers consider putting down larger mats with beveled edges that can safely absorb any excess moisture and eliminate the slip, trip and fall risk. They also advise taking steps to fix broken pavement, uneven stairs, unattached carpet and other such hazards.

Install and maintain the necessary lighting

Lastly, safety experts advise employers to make sure all work areas -- including stairways, hallways, basements, ramps, etc. -- are well lit. Furthermore, they advise employers to replace any faulty fixtures/wiring and change burnt-out bulbs as soon as possible. This simple -- and relatively inexpensive -- step can go a long way toward preventing serious work injuries.

Stay tuned for further developments in the area of workers' compensation defense law ...

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.

Source:

Coast River Business Journal, "5 tips to prevent slips, trips and falls at work and at home," June 19, 2012

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