What’s the best way to prevent slips and falls? Based on the number of injuries in the workplace due to slippery floor conditions, there is no simple answer.
A slip and fall occurs whenever there is too little friction or traction between your feet and the surface you are walking on.
While the major cause of slip and falls is surface contamination that reduces the contact between the feet and the floor surface, there are several other factors that also contribute to slip falls like the environment, footwear, floor material, use of surface, behaviour. Some of the contaminants can be water, oil, dust and anything that reduces the traction and make the floor surface slippery.
No single solution, any one solution – be it slip-resistant shoes, micro etching, mats, proper cleaning practices or worker awareness – will not eliminate the hazard. OH&S professionals who want to implement, upgrade or review their slip-prevention programs need to ensure that they consider all aspects of what causes a slip and what can be done to reduce or eliminate one of the workplace’s most common hazards.
Malcolm C. Robbins, a forensic engineer in San Diego who studies slip-and-fall accidents, said that unless someone can design a 100 percent slip-resistant environment and plan for the worst condition possible, the hazard cannot be eliminated. “If you say something is 90 percent effective, that still leaves 10 percent for an accident.”
Evaluation of Risk using Qualitative Risk Assessment
While any slip-prevention program should include several elements, slip-resistant footwear is a key to making the program work. To make sure that a shoe is truly slip-resistant, ask the manufacturer for test results that should come from an independent lab to ensure that results are valid.
The two factors to achieving slip resistance with a shoe: the rubber compound and the tread pattern design, including the tread’s surface-to-void ratio. The rubber compound needs to be soft enough to provide slip resistance but hard enough to last and maintain its tread pattern after contact with floor surfaces and contaminants. The tread pattern design should have a grid pattern that channels water, grease and other residues away from the bottom of the shoe.
Behaviour: Create Employee Awareness by encouraging and rewarding those who practice safe working habits and maintain a clean work environment. Workers can reduce the risk of slipping by:
This is only just the beginning of our service and at all times you can be sure that our representative will have your best interest at heart.
So, what can I do as an employer or controller of premises (or my home) to prevent slip falls? While there is various legislative requirements for an Employer or Controller of Premises, identifying of foreseeable hazards and elimination or control of risks applies to everyone.
The Law You Should Know
It is now a crime to neglect and ignore safety issues in the workplace.
“Employers must fully recognize their responsibility in providing a safe work environment.
Failure to do so in a manner that endangers employee and public safety must be appropriately dealt with through our criminal laws.”
– Hon. Martin Cauchon, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
1. Everyone is criminally negligent who:
a. In doing anything, or
b. In omitting to do anything that is his duty to do, shows wanton or reckless disregard for the lives or safety of other persons.
1. Everyone who undertakes to do an act is under a legal duty to do it if an omission to do the act is or may be dangerous to life.
217.1 (introduced by Bill C-45)
Everyone who undertakes, or has the authority, to direct how another person does work or performs a task is under legal duty to take reasonable steps to prevent bodily harm to that person or any other person, arising from that work or task.
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