We all know that when your work requires you to work from a height you wear proper “personal protection equipment” (PPE) to keep you safe and help prevent “slips, trips and falls”. According to stats Canada, over 42,000 injuries a year are caused by “slips, trips and falls” and more than 2/3 of those happen on the same level. Since we can not count on having our PPE save us from all “slips, trips and falls”, here are a few tips on how we can reduce our risks.
Slips, Trips and Falls
You can reduce the risk of slipping or tripping by:
- Plan ahead and give yourself sufficient time.
- When walking on steps always use the hand railings and plant your feet firmly on each step.
- When walking on an icy or snow-covered walkway, take short steps and walk at a slower pace so you can react quickly to a change in traction.
- Bending your knees a little and taking slower and shorter steps increases traction and can greatly reduce your chances of falling. It also helps to stop occasionally to break momentum.
- Streets and sidewalks that have been cleared of snow and ice should still be approached with caution. Look out for “black ice.” Dew, fog or water vapor can freeze on cold surfaces and form an extra-thin, nearly invisible layer of ice that can look like a wet spot on the pavement. It often shows up early in the morning or in areas that are shaded from the sun.
- Carrying heavy items can challenge your sense of balance. Try not to carry too much–you need to leave your hands and arms free to better balance yourself.
- Be prepared to fall and try to avoid using your arms to break your fall. If you fall backward, make a conscious effort to tuck your chin so your head doesn’t strike the ground with a full force.
- When entering a building, remove as much snow and water from your boots as you can. Take notice that floors and stairs may be wet and slippery–walk carefully.
- Use special care when entering and exiting vehicles–use the vehicle for support.
- Make sure your work area is free from hazards and walkways are clear and in good maintained. Always free from slipping and tripping hazards.
- Taking corrective action anytime you see obstructed walkways in the building. Immediately move the hazard if possible and/or contact the supervisor of the area in which the tripping hazard is evident.
- Walking at a reasonable pace for the surface you are walking on and look where you are walking.
- Using mirrors at corners.
- Ensuring things you are carrying or pushing do not prevent you from seeing obstructions or spills.
- Covering cables and extension cords that cross walkways.
- Wearing appropriate footwear for the surface being walked on. For example, wear winter footwear fitted with anti-slip protection for walking on icy conditions.
- Not using a box or chair for a step-ladder.
- Securing mats, rugs and carpets that do not lay flat.
- Having sufficient lighting for the lifting task