I've been trying to prevent injuries and death in the work place for a long time now so it's shocking to see how many workers receive grievous injuries in their workplace from such hazards that may cause slips, trips and falls.
I came across the results of the Labour Force Survey for last year and there were over 600,000+ injuries in workplaces across the UK, with the vast majority of those being due to a slip, trip or fall.
How is it, in 2019, that over 600,000 people injured themselves through a slip or trip hazard. I mean, it's the easiest kind of hazard to deal with so why are the numbers so high?
Especially when you consider the initial cost of safeguarding your workplace against failing to do so.
Every year, over £14 billion and 31 million working days are lost because businesses are failing to properly prevent slip, trip and fall injuries happening to their workforce.
Because of this I have redoubled my efforts to improve workplace safety on a global scale and to start that off I'm going to give you some very simple tips and advice to follow. Following these simple steps will help to e
Entrance and visitor safety
Entrances are generally high traffic areas where people may be taking orders or making deliveries so it's very important to ensure that your entrance way has anti-slip materials installed. Whether that's proper anti-slip flooring or matting and panels will depend on traffic volume and type.
Remember when choosing which type you should install how heavy the foot traffic is. Generally the higher the traffic the stronger the material you will need to use to remain cost-effective.
This will require that a risk assessment is taken to determine the proper safety controls to put into place.
This one seems so obvious that it should be, well.. obvious, but it's baffling to see how many workplaces are so dark and dingy.
Think about it, if you can see a hazard you have a significantly higher chance of avoiding injuries associated with that hazard and the risk is reduced.
It's very important to ensure there is sufficient lighting throughout your workplace, whether that's on a shop floor or in an office. Installing sufficient lighting in your offices, corridors, stairwells and shop floors will help to keep hazard well-lit and easier to avoid.
Outdoor areas are also important, especially if you run a night-shift. Ensure you have ample illumination that allows both foot and vehicle traffic a safe route to their destination when traveling outside.
Flooring, Stairways and Gangways
Depending on your business and its location the type of flooring you use is vitally important.
For example, if your company's workplace is primarily indoors you would require an anti-slip floor and if your workers are going to be driving forklifts or pushing trolleys indoors then that anti-slip floor would need also need to have some extra durability .
However, if you work in a primarily outdoor workplace then you would require a fully weather resistant material that retains the anti-slip properties even when covered with rain or snow.
Stairways and gangways pose particularly tricky challenges when installing risk reducing control measures. They're near the top of the list when it comes to which hazards actually cause more injuries.
So your stairways and gangways need to be strong, but they also need to be lightweight enough to stay where you put them.
There are several materials that can be used and as with everything else, it requires that a risk assessment is taken so that the proper safety control can be put into place.
Ensure regular inspections
Maintenance and inspections should be performed regularly on any and all control measures that have been installed in your workplace.
While we can create and install some pretty impressive safety measures, they're not indestructible and we do need to keep a proper check on whether they're performing the job they're supposed to.
If your workplace does not have a safety manager then you will need to hire an outside company to advise you on the proper safety policies and controls. Especially if the work you do is, by its very nature, dangerous.
Educate your workforce
This is the most effective method of preventing injury through workplace accidents. If your workforce is clued up on any and all of the potential hazards then they're significantly less likely to injure themselves.
Also ensure that each shift you run has at least one person that knows what to do in the event of an incident. They should know how to contain a hazard and how to control the risks that are inherent with that hazard.
It is unfortunately true that some workers just won't be taught and to help remind them that there are hazards around the workplace you should place signs in danger zones. For example; locations where different types of flooring meet present a trip hazard and they should be marked as such so they are easily visible.
People are less likely to injure themselves on a hazard that is clearly marked as dangerous.
If you want to learn more about performing proper risk assessments and controlling the hazards and risks that come with the work you do, you can take the new COSHH Risk Assessor Certification™.