This blog gives tips to help contractors, builders, and road crews avoid slips, trips, and falls on the job site. These types of incidents continue to be a frequent contributor to injuries in the field. Often, they can result in related and more severe conditions, such as sprains, bruises, fractures, lacerations, or worse. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 849 deaths in 2016 caused by slips, trips, and falls—an increase of 25% since 2011.
Safety Tips for our Crews in the Field
For our crews, slipping on wet surfaces and stepping onto or off a curb are the two most common causes of slips, trips, and falls. Here’s a look at some common issues, and simple, effective ways to avoid workplace injuries.
Increase Traction and Remove Hazards to Reduce Slips
Slips are caused when there is not enough traction between your feet/footwear and the surface. Slips are commonly caused by wet surfaces; slick, dry surfaces; transitioning from one type of surface to another; loose surfaces, such as gravel; plant debris; and entering/exiting a vehicle. Wearing the proper footwear and keeping your job site clean and orderly can dramatically improve safety. If you find yourself on a surface that is wet or slippery, leave the area very slowly, using extreme caution.
Eliminate Common Causes of Trips
Trips happen when stepping up or down to a different surface or when your lower body hits an object—both occurrences can result in a loss of balance. Uncovered wires are common causes of trips, so be sure to cover them with a pad or tape when they interfere with walkways. Changes in the elevations, uneven surfaces, and site obstacles can also cause trips, so make sure you are aware of all the potential hazards on the worksite.
Eliminate Environmental Factors That Increase Risk of Falls
Falls occur when you’re too far off your center of balance. Elevated and same-level surfaces can both cause falls. Many environmental factors increase the likelihood of slips, trips, and falls. These include poor lighting, improper footwear, and foggy/misty conditions. Even “human factors,” such as fatigue, illness, or physical condition, can cause you to make the kind of mistakes that result in workplace injuries.
To avoid falls, make sure your site is well lit. Create pathways for walking and mark hazardous areas with safety tape, cones, flags, or signage. Make sure your designated walkways are level and free of rocks, roots, or debris. Make sure your team is wearing the proper footwear, and as funny as it may sounds, be sure that shoelaces are tied tight. Finally, if anyone on your site shows signs of fatigue or illness, don’t ignore it. Evaluate the situation carefully to see if these conditions are likely to affect the balance, attention span, or decision-making abilities.
More Tips on Worksite Safety
Luckily, slips, trips, and falls are accidents that can be prevented. To avoid potential injuries, lost time from work, and loss of wages, keep the following tips in mind:
- Always wear proper footwear making sure your shoelaces are tied tight
- Make sure a pre-job brief is done before the start of your work
- Walk the job site before starting work
- Don’t rush. Move slowly and deliberately, and pay attention to your surroundings
- Adjust your stride and pace to walking surfaces. If you suspect a surface is wet or slippery, evaluate the situation thoroughly before proceeding.
- Designate walking areas and keep those walking areas clear of obstacles, like jackets, lunch boxes, or water bottles.
- Pay attention to the task at hand, and avoid distractions
- Talk to each other and watch each other’s back
Check out our blog posts below to get more tips for staying safe on the job:
Alright in the Night: Reflective Gear for Night Work
Illuminating a Work Zone: Safe use of Floodlights During Night Work
Boot Safety – This Little Piggy Stayed Safe