Making an Office Slip and Fall Resistant

It may surprise people to learn that slipping and/or falling is one of the great risks in the workplace. While the mind automatically runs to issues that are far more dramatic like electrical issues, heavy objects, and the vast number of risks in industries like construction, one of the risks that follow workers everywhere is the possibility of falling.

Though comedies have made humor out of slipping for decades, it is actually quite a risk for people and can lead to serious injuries like broken bones as well as death. In 2013, there were 155 million cases of serious injury through falls worldwide, which resulted in 556,000 deaths. That number is actually a massive increase from the 341,000 deaths in 1990.

This is not just a global problem, it’s a local problem as well. There were 256,000 workplace injuries in Texas in 2015 and 527 fatalities. Again, among the major causes of these injuries and deaths are slips and falls.

So, what can be done?

More vigilance is a good start. Slips often occur due to sloppiness. A drink is spilled and no one cleans it up. The refrigerator leaks and no one attends to it. People don’t look where they are going and run into some liquid and down they go to their own detriment. Insisting on workers immediately cleaning up spills and attending to any machines that might leak would go a long way towards making a workplace safer.

At the same time, changing out floors to slip-resistant surfaces would help even in those cases when a spill is not immediately cleared up.

As for falls, the best that can be done is to remove any potential hazards that people might trip over. Keep walkways clear. That means moving furniture into designated areas instead of cluttering hallways, storing boxes and documents in corners far from where others will be walking, and enforcing rules about employees not sticking appendages or objects out from their designated workspace. While employees may grumble about these somewhat draconian measures, the situation would be far worse in case of an injury.

A final important step in the case of both slips and falls is to institute extra training for employees to make sure they are aware of the risks in their work environment. Most employees think places like offices and stores are generally safe, and they do not take the precautions that workers in more overtly dangerous businesses do. Explaining why changes are being made while also explaining their need for vigilance will go a long way to smoothing over any transitions made to a safer work environment while also raising awareness.

Again, these steps may seem extreme in some cases, but the risk is present, even if it is not obvious. The potential injuries would be a far greater problem than simply moving some furniture around.

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