When we head to work each day, a slip-and fall-accident is probably the last thing on our minds—but, in fact, they are much more common than we realize. About 9.2 million people were treated in emergency rooms for fall-related injuries in 2016.1
Your employer should have a formal slip, trip, and fall prevention program in place, but there are also steps you can take to ensure these types of accidents don’t occur. According to risk engineers, here are the top seven places to look for slip-and-fall hazards.
- Your feetThe shoes you wear at work can play an important role in preventing slip-and-fall accidents. Always choose footwear that is compatible with the flooring surfaces in your workplace.
- StaircasesA number of factors contribute to staircase accidents, including:
Make sure to always take your time on the stairs and use caution if you spot any of the signs above.
- Irregular steps
- Poor lighting
- Objects left on stairs
- Improper or broken handrails
- A step in an unexpected place
- EscalatorsEscalator steps are not the correct height for normal walking, which increases the risk for a slip, trip, or fall. Do not use escalators as stairs when they are not operating.
- WalkwaysWalkways may crack due to settling surfaces, storm damage, or the action of tree roots. They can also collect puddles or ice. Be especially cautious when walking outside in bad weather, and alert the building authorities if you see these hazards so they can improve the slip resistance of these surfaces.
- RampsSlip-and-fall accidents are common on ramps as they can get slippery when it rains or snows, making the increased slope difficult to navigate. And don’t get caught off-guard by a ramp with a low rise—especially when it has no handrails.
- Parking LotsWhen navigating the parking lot at work, watch out for:
- Irregular surfaces
- Speed bumps (if your office has them, see below)
- Inadequate lighting
- Speed bumps and wheel stopsSpeed bumps and wheel stops can be a tripping hazard. If your workplace access road and parking lot has these features, navigate with caution. They should be painted a bright color and properly placed.
Most importantly, if you do see a potential slip-and-fall hazard in your work environment, report it immediately. The sooner it is corrected, the safer you and your colleagues will be.