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Manufacturing: Preventing Slips, Trips, and Falls

Preventing injuries due to slips, trips, and falls has always been a challenge. In 2019, slips, trips, and falls accounted for 21% of all claims at WCF Insurance. Two major factors contributing to these percentages are unavoidable – gravity and walking. However, falls are usually caused by something in our path that is slippery, loose, uneven, broken, missing, hidden, or possibly obscured through distractions. Below are specific ways to prevent slips, trips, and falls.
 
Housekeeping

  • Implement company standards for housekeeping in work areas, including spill controls, and follow up with inspections and checklists
  • Provide time for clean-up
  • Maintain equipment to control spills and leaks
  • Establish storage areas
  • Discard unneeded items
  • Maintain good lighting

Storage

  • Discuss storage needs with employees to determine best areas and methods to maintain stock and spare materials
  • Regularly review housekeeping checklists to reinforce clean work environment
  • Establish storage areas with safe access and adequate walkways
  • Store items away from walkways
  • Ensure there is an assigned place for materials, tools etc.

Flooring and Walking Surfaces

  • Clean spills promptly
  • Post warning signs or cones for spills
  • Lay floor mats (ensure mats don’t create additional tripping risks)
  • Have employees wear slip-resistant shoes on slippery surfaces

Flooring

  • WCF Safety can conduct slip meter measurements due to changing conditions of aging, wear, wax buildup, etc. 
  • Use beveled-edge, flat, and continuous or interlocking mats
  • Employ housekeeping procedures for continual maintenance
  • Replace buckled carpeting or damaged tile
  • Patch cracks in walkways
  • Create visual cues for elevation changes

Drains and Gutters

  • Watch for trip hazards due to poorly routed piping
  • Conduct piping and drain inspections
  • Keep gutters clear
  • Design downspouts to direct water away from traffic areas

Ice and Snow

  • Avoid shoes with leather or plastic soles
  • Select slip-resistant material with tread design
  • Clear snow as you enter buildings
  • Select best travel path
  • Use cart to transport items
  • Walk with hands and arms out to your sides so that you can regain balance
  • Maintain exterior pathways free of snow and ice
  • Use traction-enhancing materials, such as sand or ice melt to aid in preventing slips
  • Train employees on slip/fall prevention

Inadequate Lighting

  • Install more lighting as needed
  • Ensure bulbs and lamps are changed as needed
  • Verify that light fixtures are adequate for lighting requirements
  • Use a light meter to verify that light levels are adequate (WCF Safety can provide a light survey at your request)  

Stairs and Handrails

  • Create visual cues, such as marking any elevation changes with yellow paint
  • Ensure stair treads and nosing are slip resistant
  • Maintain indoor stairs free of tripping hazards
  • Ensure no ice, snow, water, etc.
  • Repair chips/cracks
  • Install handrails

Footwear

  • Select appropriate footwear to meet job conditions
  • Make sure shoes are slip resistant with adequate tread
  • Inspect footwear
  • Avoid shoes with leather or plastic soles
  • Consider using traction devices that slip on over the shoes

Distracted Walking

  • Keep your head up and look for hazards
  • Do not walk and operate a device at the same time
  • Look in the direction you are walking
  • Listen to music at a level that allows you to hear around you

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