When it comes to managing risks, winter is not the only time we must be on our toes. Slips, trips and falls occur daily and according to the National Safety Council they are the cause for approximately 8.9 million emergency room visits. As a public entity, the risks you face may be larger due to higher foot traffic from both employees and visitors. Accidents are always waiting to happen, but with good housekeeping you can dramatically decrease the chances for slips, trips and falls.
Slips, trips and falls are caused by numerous hazards. These include but are not limited to: weather, obstructed views, poor lighting, spills, wet or oily surfaces, uneven surfaces or steps, uncovered cords, loose or crumpled mats, clutter or debris, and much, much more. Although you cannot always control how fast someone walks or whether or not they are wearing appropriate footwear to prevent accidents, you can control and practice good housekeeping.
Follow these simple measures to reduce risk:
- Clean and mark spills with proper signage immediately.
- Keep walkways and work areas well lit. Replace light bulbs and switches in a timely manner.
- Cover any cords that cross a walkway. Or, firmly secure them to the wall out of the way.
- Place a mat at each entrance to help capture moisture and debris that is tracked in on shoes.
- Remove, sweep and clear all debris or clutter from walkways.
- If necessary, update uneven or hazardous walking surfaces by replacing floors, adding mats, and/or by applying non-slip coatings to the surface to further reduce the risk of slips, trips and falls.
Remember failing to practice good housekeeping only contributes to the likelihood of slips, trips and falls increasing your liability and likelihood of a lawsuit.
A documented self-assessment program is one of your best defenses against slips, trips and falls. Self-assessment consists of identifying and correcting hazards through facility inspections and accident investigations. Download OneBeacon Government Risks’, ‘Slips, Trips and Falls’ which includes a sample self-assessment form.
Safeguard your public entity today!
For additional resources, visit the United States Department of Labor: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) website. Or, download the OSHA ‘Slips, Trips and Falls: Identification and Prevention’ PowerPoint.
To learn more about how OneBeacon Government Risks can help you manage risks, please contact us at OBGRRiskControl@onebeacongov.com.