7 Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Slips, Trips and Falls
Colorado workers’ compensation attorney R. Mack Babcock provides guidelines for employers and workers to prevent slips and falls on-the-job
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury as a result of a slip and fall accident, call Denver’s personal injury attorney Mack Babcock for a free consultation. Proving fault in a slip and fall case can be tricky. You will need an expert slip and fall attorney to help guide you safely through this difficult process.
According to the US Department of Labor, slips, trips and falls account for a huge majority of accidents in the workplace. Some of the percentages are staggering.
- 15% of all accidental deaths in the workplace are a result of slips, trips and falls
- Each year, falls are the cause of 95 million lost days from work
- 25% of all reported workplace injuries are a result of these types of accidents
Needless to say, we as workers, as well as business owners, need to take serious measures to help prevent so many unnecessary injuries.
There are a variety of reasons that slips and falls occur. Some of the most common include:
- Falling down steps
- Tripping over a box or something obstructing your path
- Tripping over electrical cords
- Slipping on a wet or greasy floor
- Slipping on an icy area in the parking lot
- Knocking into open desk drawers
- Slipping with muddy boots or shoes
- Slipping on newly polished waxed floors
- Slipping on floors with no anti-skid surfaces
- Tripping over missing tiles or uneven levels of flooring
- Falling off ladders
Continue reading for 7 suggestions employers and employees can use to help prevent slips, trips and falls in the workplace.
- There should always be proper lighting – Always make sure a work area is very well lit for employees to see appropriately. If there is light that is burned out or a malfunction in the switch, fix it immediately. As for an employee, whenever you walk into a room, always turn the switch on first to avoid tripping over anything in the room.
- Always wear the appropriate shoes and other clothing – Whatever your job is, make sure you wear the proper footwear according to the types of responsibilities you have. For example, if you are a warehouse worker, close toed and possibly steel toed shoes are appropriate. The slickness of the bottom of your soles can be an issue, especially if you work in food service.
- Control your own behavior – This means to make proper decisions in the workplace. Don’t walk around texting and not paying attention to where you are going. Don’t get in so much of a hurry that you run throughout the building and end up slipping and falling. Be smart! Take care of yourself. Some things can wait a few extra minutes to get accomplished so don’t be in such an incredible hurry.
- Make sure you reduce slippery and wet surfaces – Walking surfaces are reported as one of the most common areas where injuries occur. Make certain that they are wiped down appropriately or that a sign is placed immediately to let others know that the surface is wet or slippery. Broken bones and back injuries are most common to occur in these types of conditions.
- Always maintain excellent housekeeping practices – This is so important! Clean up your mess!! Don’t let others trip over the mess you have created. At the workplace, make certain the employees know good housekeeping practices and safety go hand in hand. Usually, companies with excellent housekeeping practices have much fewer accidents. Make this a priority!
- Avoid creating obstacles – Again, clean up your mess! Be smart about where you place objects. Don’t lay down a box in an aisle even on a temporary basis without letting others know it is there. Don’t string cables and cords in a way where others will trip over them. Make safety fun at the company by implementing a program – possibly even a reward – for following excellent safety practices.
- Traction control should be monitored – Traction in an area outside can change drastically according to weather conditions. Monitor these conditions on a regular basis and take appropriate measures. Inside, always check to make sure your traction control procedures are working. Use anti-skid paint or adhesive striping material when necessary.
As you can see, there are many ways a slip and fall accident can occur on the job. We at Babcock Law sincerely hope both employers and workers take these recommendations and others like it seriously, and stay safe on the job.
But remember, if you are injured on the job, you are entitled to treatment and compensation for lost wages, regardless of fault. However, ensuring you receive all of these things can be challenging, which is why it’s recommended you enlist the help of an attorney well versed in Colorado workers’ comp law.
Slip and Fall Accidents at Work
“I fell at work and hurt my back… help!”
Workplace injuries happen in a wide variety of scenarios, and many of those accidents can be classified as “slip and fall” incidents when employees trip or lose their footing while working. Unfortunately, when work gets busy and deadlines must be met, safety often becomes a lower priority.
Slipping, tripping, and falling at work is more common than many people realize. The types of injuries suffered in these mishaps can also be more serious than the victim knows or the company wants to admit. Unless the injury clearly resulted in a serious head injury, broken bone or a mobility problem, injured workers often hope for the best after suffering from a slip and fall accident and do not initially report an injury. This can lead to the denial of benefits.
It’s important for both employees and employers alike to understand when and where slip and fall accidents most commonly occur so that they can prevent a possible tragedy. It’s also important that these accidents be promptly reported and handled appropriately. If you or a loved one have already been injured, it’s important to know your rights when it comes to workers’ compensation.
Common causes of work-related slip and falls
Slip and fall injuries happen more often on ice and snow in the winter season, especially in states like Colorado. Statistics associated with slip and fall injuries clearly indicate a significant spike in injury claims due to cold weather conditions.
At work, icy conditions may make employees move more cautiously and pay closer attention while walking, but the cold weather might also entice others to move quickly to stay warm. Poor footing can be a real issue in icy conditions, and paying close attention to walkways can be vital to avoiding an injury.
Elevated work areas
Working in elevated areas makes a potential slip and fall accident more dangerous. The construction industry is where most fatal falls occur. Statistics show that nearly 400 deaths occur annually from construction industry falls.
These injuries can be avoidable if employers implement appropriate safety measures in the workplace. Unfortunately, many employers consider safety training and tools an unnecessary expense to their business. This type of thinking is flawed, and often to the detriment of employees.
The most common workplace slip and fall injuries occur on wet walking surfaces, especially when water is used to keep a work area clean as part of the production process. For example, this is typical in food manufacturing plants that employ in-house food safety monitors. Sanitation is important, but as a consequence it can cause wet floors.
At all places of employment, safety shoes and work boots aren’t always utilized or effective, and it’s easy to slip and fall at any point during a work shift. This fact, combined with strict production schedules that encourage employees to stay in motion, results in a higher risk of slip and fall injury due to workplace conditions.
Slip and falls: No laughing matter
Slip and falls are often depicted as a source of comedy, especially when it seems that no one has been seriously injured. However, they can be very dangerous.
Workers’ compensation claims stemming from slip and fall injuries at work are more expensive than most companies want to admit. In fact, workplace slip and fall claims are over 30 percent more costly than other accidents. Many times, serious head and skeletal injuries occur and end up affecting the injured employee for the rest of their life. A significant number of deaths happen in the workplace from slips and falls, too.
In short, a slip and fall is nothing to laugh at or be embarrassed about. It happens to almost everyone sooner or later, and injuries arising from slip and fall accidents at work should be taken just as seriously as any other type of workplace accident.
Contact a Denver workers’ compensation attorney
If you were injured at work, contact a compassionate and experienced workers’ compensation attorney at the Babcock Law Firm. We have a long track record of demanding justice for our clients.
Slip and fall injuries can last a lifetime, and you only have one shot at receiving fair and full compensation. An aggressive and knowledgeable attorney at The Babcock Law Firm can make that opportunity count. Contact us today for your free consultation.
If you’ve sustained an on-the-job injury, contact attorney R. Mack Babcock and associates at the Babcock Law Firm for a free consultation, or continue browsing our workers’ comp blog, knowledge resources and our exclusive (PDF) workers’ comp e-book for more information.
Continue reading these related articles for more information…
- Reporting a Work-Related Injury or Condition
- Tips on Recognizing and Preventing Cold Hazard Work Injuries
- Tips of Keeping Cab and Truck Drivers Safe in a Dangerous Profession
**NOTE – this article and all content at Injurylawcolorado.com is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice