Slip and falls are extremely common and detrimental to workers. The National Floor Safety Institute reports that slip and falls are the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims and occupational injury amongst workers ages 55 and older in our country. Slip and falls also serve as the primary cause of missed days from work.
Employers and employees should collaborate to develop solutions that prevent workplace slip and falls.
The prevention of these incidents does more than prevent workers from injuries. It also saves money in healthcare and workers’ compensation costs, avoids interruptions in productivity and cuts down on worker turnover.
Here are five guidelines for the prevention of workplace slip and falls:
1. Understand the top floor hazards that lead to slip and falls.
To prevent slip and falls, employers and employees must understand how they occur. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the top 10 hazards that cause slip and falls are:
- Contaminants on the floor
- Poor pipe drainage
- Irregularities on indoor walking surfaces
- Irregularities on outdoor walking surfaces
- Ice, snow and other adverse weather conditions
- Poor lighting
- The presence of hazards that lead to tripping such as loose cords
- Improper use of floor mats
- Stairs and handrails
- Stepstools and ladders.
Workers in some industries could add to this list. For example, construction workers may face the risk of a fall accident due to improper scaffolding.
By understanding the common causes of slip and fall accidents, employers and workers alike can better understand how to prevent these incidents and take actions to eliminate common hazards.
2. Maintain good housekeeping.
Good housekeeping is essential. For instance, companies should ensure that walking areas are kept in a safe and clean condition. Everyone should do their part to clean up obvious hazards.
Employers who do not already have a housekeeping plan in place should implement one. The plan should address best practices for avoiding hazards. For example, it can address how to place floor mats and pour chemicals. It can also discuss what to do if a hazard is spotted. The plan should also assign tasks.
Housekeeping should be part of workers’ daily routines.
3. Maintain lighting, walking surfaces and handrails.
Employees must be responsible for cleaning up any messes that they create such as spills .However, it is not the job of employees to correct foundational hazards in working areas.
For example, if there is a crack in a floor, the employer bears the responsible to repair this crack and ensure the walking surface is free of any similar hazards.
Employers should frequently assess their employees’ working conditions. This assessment should include checking:
- Lighting in all areas — If the lighting is inadequate, the employer should take immediate steps to correct it.
- Walking surfaces – The employer should repair or warn about any irregularities such as cracks in hard surfaces or tears in carpet.
- Handrails, scaffolding and other safety structures – The employer must ensure that these structures are present and in good condition.
If there are any other hazards such as defective pipe drainage, these items should be corrected as well.
4. Take care of snow and ice removal.
Snow and ice are common during the wintertime in New Jersey. Every year, people slip and fall as a result of improperly removed snow and ice. Part of slip, trip and fall prevention in the workplace is ensuring that snow and ice are removed in a timely manner.
If an employer lacks the time or ability to ensure that snow is properly removed, the employer should hire someone to do it.
This is true regardless of the industry. Snow and ice can even be dangerous for workers with desk jobs who have to drive and walk through dangerous parking lots in order to enter an office space.
5. Encourage proper footwear and safe behavior.
Finally, the last guideline to help prevent slip and falls at work is to talk to employees and encourage them to use proper footwear and follow safe workplace behavior.
Slick shoes without a good tread, shoes that are too big and untied laces can significantly increase the risk of a slip and fall accident.
Employers should also talk to their employees about which behaviors contribute to slip and falls. Carrying heavy loads, texting while walking, roughhousing, running or walking too quickly, failing to pay attention and more can all be distracting, obstruct vision and ultimately increase the risk of a slip and fall accident in the workplace.
Get Help from Our New Jersey Slip and Fall Lawyers
If you are injured in a slip and fall accident in the workplace that leaves you with high medical bills and prevents you from being able to work, you should get in touch with an experienced New Jersey slip and fall attorney.
At Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C., we handle workers’ compensation cases and third party liability claims. We can assess your case free of charge and advise you of your legal rights. If we think that you have a case, we will take it on and never charge you unless you obtain the financial recovery you deserve.
To learn more about what you can do if you are injured in a slip and fall accident while on the job, please contact us today.