Slips, Trips, and Falls Toolbox Talk
Construction sites are full of many hazards but most workers seem to forget about slips, trips, and falls. It is reported that nearly 15% of all accidental deaths are from incidents related to this. These types of accidents are also extremely costly to an employer and account for almost $11 billion with costs related to them. As a worker on a construction site, there are several precautions you can take to prevent an injury from a slip, trip, or fall. We will be looking into these a little further.
Slip, Trip & Fall Injury Statistics
According to the 2013 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, falls caused by slips and trips were the second leading cause of injuries and fatalities in the workplace. The number one cause is motor vehicle accidents. Slips, trips, and falls continue to be a leading cause of emergency room visits for many workers.
Some common slip, trip, and fall injuries include:
Causes of Slips, Trips, and Falls
Some common causes of slips, trips, and falls injuries include:
Wet or oily surface
Weather hazards including rain, snow, and ice
Loose mats and rugs
Walking surfaces that are not level
Uncovered wires and cables
Preventing Slips, Trips, and Falls
There are ways that you can help prevent slips, trips, and falls, and keep your worksite safer for you and your coworkers. One simple way is to practice good housekeeping, clean up as you go. Other ways include wearing slip-resistant shoes, being careful when walking on uneven surfaces as well as surfaces that are wet.
Good Housekeeping Tips
Good construction site housekeeping is an easy way to prevent most slips, trips, and falls and it is often overlooked. Simply cleaning up your work area as you go can help on the job site. Examples of good housekeeping include:
Cleaning up spills immediately
Mark areas that have spills and are wet until they are cleaned and dry
Mopping or sweeping debris from walking surfaces
Make sure walkways are free of clutter and obstacles
Securing mats and rugs that are not laying flat
Covering cables and wires that cross walkways
Making sure the work area and walkways are well lit
Clean your area as you work don’t leave the mess for others to clean
Check for fall hazards daily and alert your foreman if you see something
Have a laydown yard for extra materials and keep it picked up
Salt sidewalks, parking lots, and other highly traveled areas during winter (Read more about preventing winter slips, trips, and falls)
Walking Surfaces Tips
Slips, trips, and falls can happen on any walking surface but, if that surface is uneven or if it is made of materials that provide little traction this chance can be increased greatly. Ways you can improve your walkways on your construction site can include:
Make sure there are mats or pressure-sensitive abrasive strips
Ask for the flooring to be replaced or painted if you notice it creates a hazard
Pay attention to where you are walking
If you notice a walking surface that is uneven or that needs some work bring it to the attention of your foreman so they can correct the issue if it is something you can not do. Also, make your coworkers aware of the hazard to decrease the risk of someone else getting hurt.
The footwear you chose to wear to a worksite has a huge impact on if you are safe. You should not wear tennis shoes on a worksite, always wear work boots. Your work boots should be the proper fit with treads to reduce the risk of slips, trips, and falls. To reduce your risks:
Wear work boots that fit snugly and that have slip-resistant soles
Clean the treads of your shoes regularly
Inspect the soles of your work boots and make sure they are intact and that you have proper treads
How you walk can have a big impact on your risk of slips, trips, and falls. When you are walking there are some ways to reduce these risks. This includes:
Take your time and do not run
Pay attention to where you are walking
Use light sources such as flashlights or installed light sources if your walkways are dark
Make sure if you are carrying materials or moving materials that you can see the walkways in front of you
Always look for spills when walking
Fall Prevention From Heights
A construction worker is more likely to get hurt by falling while pushing a wheelbarrow full of materials than they are while standing on scaffolding. However, it is still important to know how to prevent falls from heights above ground level. Some of these safety tips include:
Always use fall protection for heights over 4 feet.
Use proper guarding for holes and windows.
Use guardrails when needed.
Use adequate fall protection such as a full-body harness with a retractable lanyard that is 100% tied off to an approved anchor point.
When climbing ladders make sure to use proper ladder safety techniques.
What To Do If Injured
If you are injured on the job site you should report your injury to your foreman immediately. If you have a serious injury that requires immediate medical attention call 911 or have a coworker call for you. Should you see that a coworker has been injured do your best to notify someone and get immediate medical attention for them. While some slips, trips, and falls may seem minor at first it is always better to get fully checked out. Sprains and strains to your legs, ankles, and back are common with falls on a worksite. Broken bones are also common and need to be treated as soon as possible.
Do Your Part in Preventing Slips, Trips & Falls
A common safety hazard on construction job sites are slips, trips, and falls but they can be prevented with some safety measures. Make sure you are always aware of your surroundings and where you are walking. Also if you see a hazard let your coworkers and foremen know immediately. Working together to keep your worksite clean and hazard free is the best prevention. Should you have any questions about hazards on your job site or what to do ask your foreman.
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