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Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls in the Workplace

Slip, trip and falls in the workplace are painful for everyone involved. The person who takes the tumble, of course, suffers real physical pain and injury, as well as the possible loss of income. The company or employer, however, can take a financial hit if faced with a possible negligence lawsuit. There is also the added loss of lost work time and the time needed to train a temporary or permanent replacement. Whether you are the injured party or the employer, there are steps you can take to limit these types of accidents in the workplace. Floor Surface Good quality flooring is imperative for safety in the workplace. If floors are coated, add mats or abrasive strips to reduce slips and falls. Better yet, use an abrasive-filled paint on slick or synthetic floors and decks. Non-slip flooring also helps reduce foot fatigue, which is a regular cause of mishaps. Whatever type of flooring surface you choose, remember to practice regular maintenance. Footwear Slips can occur when there is not enough traction between the floor and your footwear. Common causes of this can be wet areas caused by spills, loose rugs, weather hazards or flooring that does not have consistent traction.There is no one-size-fits-all footwear that provides anti-slip properties, so it's important to do your research and choose the correct shoe for the job. A proper fit will also increase foot comfort and increase safety. Housekeeping Trips come about when your foot hits or strikes an inanimate object that causes you to lose your balance and fall. Common causes can be poor lighting, uncovered cables, clutter that impedes a clear path and wrinkled carpeting. To prevent injuries due to poor housekeeping, identify possible problem areas and practice regular maintenance. For example, cover cables that cross walkways with rubberized mats and clean all spills immediately. Make it a frequent habit to sweep debris and remove obstacles from walkways. Take the time to eliminate what isn’t needed before it becomes clutter. Keep working areas well lit at all times by regularly replacing light bulbs and faulty switches. Most slip, trip and fall accidents are preventable, and you can avert them by staying aware and paying attention to where you are walking and what surface you are walking on. If you’re looking for more information and/or safety suggestions, San Antonio has a regional OSHA office that you can contact.