What are the ways an employer can protect workers from falls? How to ensure workplace safety in such situations? Read on to find out.
Slips, trips, and falls are some of the most common injuries that can occur in the workplace. In fact, the most recent reports show that 26 percent of nonfatal workplace injuries were the result of a slip, trip, or fall.
As a business owner, it’s definitely in your best interest to avoid falls and other injuries at your company.
You may have questions about how to do this, though, such as “what are the ways an employer can protect workers from falls?” or “what should you do if an employee falls on the job?”
Read on to find the answers to these and other important fall-related questions.
Most Common Causes of Falls
There are several issues that can contribute to slips, trips, and falls in the workplace. The following are some of the most common:
Slippery or Unstable Surfaces
Often, when an employee slips, trips, or falls while at work, the problem is a slippery or unstable surface.
For example, they might slip and fall because a puddle of water wasn’t cleaned up right away. Or, they may fall off a ladder or platform that wasn’t secured properly.
Poor lighting can make it harder for workers to identify potential hazards (from spills that haven’t been cleaned to loose cables or cords). This, in turn, can increase their chances of tripping, slipping, or falling while doing their job.
Human error is one of the most common culprits behind workplace falls. For example, a worker may lose their balance because they’re not focused on the task at hand, or they may overlook an obstacle because their gaze is fixed somewhere else.
Poor decision-making contributes to many falls and fall-related injuries as well.
A worker might decide to stand on an unstable surface instead of getting the proper stepladder when putting something away, for example, or they may decide not to wear protective headgear and end up getting hurt when they fall from a higher up location.
What Are the Ways an Employer Can Protect Workers from Falls?
There may be lots of different ways an employee can fall at work. However, there are also lots of steps an employer can take to prevent falls from happening, including these:
Keep Surfaces Clear
Keeping workspaces free of potential obstacles and hazards can go a long way when it comes to protecting your employees from falls. Make sure that rugs and mats are secured and keep clutter out of walkways so they don’t become tripping hazards.
Use Proper Lighting
Making sure your work areas are well-lit can also be very helpful. Replace lightbulbs as soon as they burn out and check that all areas are lit, including walkways, so that your workers can easily see when a potential obstacle is in their way.
Display Warning Signs
Often, a lot of accidents can be avoided if proper warning signs are displayed. This could be as simple as a “Wet Floor” sign set up after something spills or a sign reminding employees to put on their protective gear before they enter a specific part of the workplace.
Encourage Protective Gear
Speaking of protective gear, your employees ought to have access to essential gear that keeps them safe and helps to prevent injuries while they’re on the job. This might include boots or shoes that provide plenty of traction or hard hats that protect them from head injuries in the event of a fall.
Manage Cords and Cables
Keep cords and cables wrapped up and put away in their proper place. A simple task like this can prevent a lot of trips and falls (it also makes your workplace more aesthetically pleasing when there’s less clutter littering the floors).
Use Proper Safety Equipment
Finally, make sure you’re using safety equipment that can help to prevent falls and other accidents.
For example, this safety equipment provider recommends using a secure safety gate. This can reduce the risk of falls and give your workers an extra level of protection, especially when they’re working at greater heights.
What to Do if an Employee Falls on the Job?
Sometimes, no matter how careful you are, accidents happen. In the event that an employee does fall at work, you should follow these steps immediately after to mitigate the damage and ensure they receive proper care:
Secure the Area
After a fall happens, do whatever you can immediately to prevent additional falls or injuries. This might include turning off equipment and putting up signs warning other workers to be careful.
Call for Help
Next, get medical help for your injured employee. You might need to call an ambulance or arrange for someone to take them to an Urgent Care facility to get checked out. Even if they seem okay, it’s still important for them to have a medical evaluation.
Gather Information and Evidence
Once you know your employee is taken care of, assess the scene and gather information about what happened. Take statements from other workers or take photos to get a clear picture of the accident.
Fill Out the Proper Paperwork
Next, fill out the proper paperwork used for detailing workplace accidents. The sooner you do this, the fresher the information will be in your mind and the less inclined you’ll be to forget important details.
Stay in touch with your employee, their doctor, and your workers’ compensation insurance agent. The more informed you are, the easier it’ll be to avoid serious issues (including legal problems), and the easier it’ll be to ensure your worker receives the proper care.
Start Preventing Workplace Falls Today
You now have a clear answer to the question “what are the ways an employer can protect workers from falls?” as well as other common fall-related questions.
Now that you have this information at our disposal, it’s time to take steps to prevent falls from happening. Keep these tips in mind to ensure your company is a safe place for workers and visitors.
Don’t forget to visit the Business section of our site as well. It’s full of helpful tips and tricks you can reference to ensure your workplace is safe and productive at all times.