According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 25 percent of employer insurance claims each year are due to slips, trips and falls. For business owners, these accidents cause a loss in productivity and can create unexpected expenses.
To mark National Safety Month this June, Farm Bureau Financial Services has gathered a list of the industries that experience the most nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Check out the list below and then read on to see what business owners and their employees can do to prevent workplace slips, trips and falls!
Industries Most Prone to Workplace Accidents*
State and Local Government
Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting
Transportation and Warehousing
Health Care and Social Assistance
Accommodation and Food Services
Real Estate, Rental, and Leasing
Administrative Support, Waste Management, and Remediation Services
Other Services, except Public Administration
Management of Companies and Enterprises
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services
Finance and Insurance
*Data sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012.
Most slips and trips in the workplace can be prevented. When accidents do happen, workers are typically injured in the knee, ankle, foot, wrist, elbow, back, shoulder, hip or head.
Where Do Slips Happen?
There are many areas in a workplace that could cause slips. Highly polished floors, smooth floors with dust or other particles, or freshly waxed surfaces can all be dangerous to employees. The weather can also be a fierce mistress, creating puddles of rainwater or melted snow in entryways causing wet or dirty shoes to slip without notice. Sloped surfaces, shifting tiles or floorboards, poorly cared for rugs and mats, and the simple act of personnel moving from one type of surface to another are also common causes of slips.
What Causes Workplace Trips?
Several workplace items can cause major trip-ups to personnel. Unattended cords, hoses, cables, wires, debris, clutter, or obstacles in walkways can easily cause a trip-and-fall incident. Rugs and mats can cause trips as well as slips, especially if corners are broken or curled.
Inside buildings, open drawers or doors that protrude into walkways, changes in floor elevation, awkward thresholds, irregular steps, and gaps in floors can all cause falls.
On the outside, sidewalks, curb drops, and speed bumps can cause tripping hazards for employees and customers.
Tips for Businesses to Prevent Slips and Trips
There are several things that all business can do to prevent slips and trip accidents on their property. Follow the guidelines below to make your office, factory, small business, or store as safe as possible!
Tips for Outside Safety
- Fix potholes and other damage in parking lots
- Mark uneven surfaces or changes in elevation with a yellow stripe
- Check that curbs, crosswalks, and speed bumps are well marked and in good condition
- Use slip-resistant paint on pavement
- Ensure outdoor areas are well-lit
- Keep outdoor walkways free of cords, hoses, large openings and other hazards
- Make sure handrails are in good condition along all walkways
- Avoid broken stairs and odd-sized risers and treads
- Check that ramps are made of slip-resistant material or have traction strips instead
Tips for Indoor Walkway Safety
- Check that walkways have no low-handing objects that could cause head injuries
- Repair or replace broken or missing floor tiles
- Check that carpet is free of rips and tears
- Ensure stairwells are well-lit
- Move cords and hoses away from walkways; use cord covers to protect any that cannot be moved
- Keep walkways free of liquids
- Use floor signs when appropriate
- Use mats and rugs to prevent tracking from outside sources
- Regularly inspect all mats and rugs for curling or tearing
- Consider installing tire stops in parking lots to prevent employees and guests from walking on uneven surfaces around cars
Tips for Weather Safety
- Consider hiring a snow/ice contractor
- Check that walkways are clear before arrival of employees/customers
- Shovel walkways and parking lots throughout the day
- Use the proper type and amount of ice control around the building
- Check that snow is piled to reduce thaw/freeze problems on walkways
Tips for Employees to Prevent Slips and Falls
While it is a company’s responsibility to keep their workplace clean and free of slip and trip hazards, there are several things that employees and customers can do to keep themselves safe.
- On wet surfaces, take smaller steps and make wider turns
- Clean up personal spills immediately
- Wear slip-resistant shoes or boots
- Don't carry large objects that obstruct your view
- Clean fogged-over glasses immediately
- Close drawers when not in use
- Report missing or broken lights
- Do not stand on a chair to reach an object
- Walk up and down stairs, don't run
- Use handrails at all times
- Notify superiors of unsafe conditions
- Always pay attention to what you are doing
No one wants to suffer from a tip or fall in the workplace, and it’s up to the owner and the employees to make it safe! For even more protection for your business, check out Farm Bureau’s business insurance to keep your company growing strong!
1 Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/osh_11072013.pdf