Soft tissue injuries are very painful, and it takes a long time to heal from them. In addition to pain, they also can cause frustration and emotional distress. Big medical bills and a loss of wages may be covered by workers’ compensation, but that doesn’t reduce pain or cover lost overtime, and it certainly doesn’t compensate for lost family time or time away from outdoor pursuits, among other things. If slips and falls happen at home, workers’ compensation doesn’t help at all. Often, these types of injuries are self-inflicted, perhaps the result of rushing or not paying attention. So, it’s important to keep your eyes open and stay focused on one thing at a time.
When working outdoors, slip-and-fall hazards can include wet or icy ground and uneven or unstable terrain. Indoors, slick floors and objects in walkways – among other things – can be hazardous.
There are practical preventive measures. To avoid slips and falls, always be on the lookout for foreign substances on walkways. These could be natural substances, such as water, ice, snow or mud, or other substances, such as grease, oil, litter or tools. Understand that even a small amount of any of these items can be enough to take you down. Be proactive. If you see equipment or supplies left in a walkway, do your part and remove them. Don’t expect or depend on someone else to do it. Signage indicating the locations of hazardous areas are sometimes posted, but not always, which means you need to look out for yourself and others. Also, save running for the track. Running at work just brings about hazards more quickly, and you have less time to recognize them.
Working at height is a normal occurrence in our industry. OSHA mandates fall protection when working or walking at an unprotected elevation of 4 feet or 6 feet, depending on the application. The elevation increases to 10 feet for workers in approved scaffolds. Falls involve kinetic energy, meaning that your weight and the distance of the fall increase the impact force. That impact force can be hundreds of pounds for a short fall up to thousands of pounds for a longer fall. That’s why the results of a fall often involve internal bleeding, external injuries and even death.
Following are some other tips and items to keep in mind to prevent slip-and-fall injuries on the job:
In closing, while slips and falls occur every day, the extent of a worker’s injuries and the recurrence of these types of incidents can be minimized through proper safety training and work practices.
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