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Safety at work: how to avoid a slip and fall

Author: Holly Chavez
Published: Aug 16 2014

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have both indicated that approximately 15 percent of all workplace injuries result from a ‘slip and fall.’ Tragically, this leads to 17,000 fatalities annually, with an additional 1 million people injured in this manner.

A problem that impacts businesses of all sizes, cases surrounding traumatic brain injuries resulting from a slip and fall have been filed against employers in almost every area of the country. A surprising 35% of falls result in traumatic brain injuries.

How can I Improve Safety at My Workplace?

Taking steps to minimize the risk of slip and fall accidents can save lives and minimize a company's potential liability. With this in mind, it is definitely best to be proactive by implementing proven safety techniques, especially when you consider how simple (and obvious) these methods are:

1. Post Wet Floor Signs – Every business should have at least one wet floor sign on hand at all times so that it can be put in place whenever there is a leak or spill. Go a step further by anticipating weather conditions, laying down skid proof mats near the entrances - especially when you have slick flooring. The presence of these signs will remind people to be careful, and they can also help from a liability standpoint if the company ends up getting sued by an injured employee.

2. Keep Each Floor Free of Debris – Minimizing the amount of debris that is located anywhere within the company's building is best for a myriad of reasons, but it is imperative to keep the walking paths clear. After all, anything that is on the ground could easily cause someone to stumble, trip or slip, and this could lead to serious injuries.

3. Have Flooring Cracks Repaired Immediately – Anyone who notices a crack or other potential trip hazard should immediately report it so that the problem can be handled quickly. Keep in mind that uneven surfaces can also be very dangerous, and each person in the workplace needs to take personal responsibility for protecting everyone else by reporting these problems to management.

Dealing with a Workplace Injury

Ultimately, your odds of being injured at work could be directly impacted by the safety measures that your employer puts in place. Remain observant at all times, try not to walk while holding items which could obstruct your line of sight. If a fall occurs, be sure you have stable footing and wait for someone to help you to your feet.

Always have a manager complete an incident report, take witness statements and photos if possible. Even if the fall seemed minor or inconsequential, be sure to visit a doctor within a few days - many times the severity of an injury isn’t evident right away, so you want to make certain you’ve covered the bases at a minimum for medical out of pocket compensation and loss of future wages.

If cameras are in place, make a written request to have the tape preserved. New York attorney Steven Gacovino says, “The first thing a personal injury lawyer will do for you is to make sure there is a thorough investigation to find evidence to support your claim.” It might be necessary to take action if your employer fails to provide you with workers' compensation. You want to make sure all the bases are covered, your medical bills are taken care of, and the incident is properly documented.

Holly Chavez is a freelance author and former industrial engineer. She often worked with business owners regarding how to strengthen their safety programs. Business owners that aren’t vigilant about their safety programs often find out the hard way that prevention is a lot less expensive than personal injury and workers’ compensation claims.

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