Slips and falls are the most common causes of general industry accidents, according to the Department of Labor. While a minor trip can produce something no more serious than a bruise, trips, slips and falls can also cause serious injury. In fact, 15% of all accidental deaths are caused by slip and falls, second to motor vehicle accidents.
While data cites slips, trips, and falls together, it’s hard to know exactly what causes these accidents. For instance, about 85% of worker’s compensation claims cite that the worker slipped on a slick floor, but slick could mean number of things. It could mean slipping on ice or a broken jar of jelly at a grocery store.
Here are some of the most common causes of slips and trips:
Causes of Slips:
- Wet or oily surfaces: Make sure that all employees wipe their feet before entering the workspace to prevent water, oil, and mud from being tracked in.
- Occasional spills: Whether it’s oil or someone’s morning coffee, all spills can be considered potentially hazardous if unattended.
- Hazardous weather: snow, sleet, rain, and especially ice can all be slick, even when wearing treaded shoes. Be sure to watch the weather, and keep rock salt on hand for melting ice and snow. Regardless of the precautions in place, always proceed with caution.
Causes of Trips:
- Poor lighting or other view obstruction: If you can’t see where you’re going, it’s far more likely that you’re going to trip and hurt yourself. Whether it’s dark or if you have something distracting in front of you, you should never walk through a workplace unable to see clearly.
- Clutter: Cluttered workspaces cause tripping hazards. Make sure all tools and equipment are put away when not in use, to prevent other workers from tripping.
- Loose, unanchored rugs or mats: When you’re not paying attention, rugs and mats can sneak up on you. Make sure that all carpets are secured flat to the ground without any lumps or upturned edges.
- Uncovered cables: Cover and secure cables completely. Even if they are taped down, they can still pose hazards for tripping. Place plastic covers over cable bundles to provide safe walking surface.
Many of these hazardous conditions require maintenance, but others can be easily fixed by purchasing or renting commercial floor scrubbers and sweepers. Commercial floor scrubbers use special cleaning solutions to clean floors, and squeegee behind them as they move across the floor, leaving no slick surfaces behind.
So toss the mop and bucket. When it comes to cleaning industrial floors, safety first.