Now that winter is upon us, ask yourself: As an employer, am I being proactive enough when it comes to preventing slip and fall injuries?
Obviously those types of injuries go up with the advent of ice, sleet and snow. Here are other reasons to be concerned:
- The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows Michigan was in the top 10 states for slip and fall injuries in 2014. The state reported 2,040 reported work injuries that involved a slip, trip or fall due to ice, sleet or snow resulting in more than one day lost from work in Michigan and 42,480 such injuries in the United States.
- The median number of days lost due to such injuries is 11 days.
- In 2016, Michigan had 229,240 non-fatal work injuries resulting in days away from work due to falls, slips and trips. Nearly half of the 43 fatalities that MIOSHA investigated in 2016 were fall-related.
- Nationally, fatal work injuries from falls, slips, or trips continued a general upward trend that began in 2011, increasing 6 percent to 849 in 2016 and 25 percent overall since 2011. Falls increased more than 25 percent in 2016 for roofers, carpenters, tree trimmers and pruners, and heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers.
Incentive enough? Then let’s get working on how you can minimize such injuries:
Thoroughly salt walkways and sidewalks where employees will be walking after snow/ice.
Keep entranceways as dry as possible with ample lighting.
Use “CAUTION” signs if walking areas are slippery/wet.
Keep dry and free of debris.
Consider abrasive adhesives to reduce hazards.
General working surfaces:
Use signage if hazards exist.
Keep floors clean, dry and free of grease/oils if at all possible.
If there are areas prone to being wet, consider use of a rug.
Tips for employees:
• Practice “safe walking” on slippery surfaces by taking slow, small steps.
• Step down, not out, from curbs.
• Avoid carrying heavy loads that may offset your balance.
• Wear sunglasses on sunny days to lessen winter glare.
• Take extra precaution when entering and exiting vehicles and wear slip-resistant footwear.
Many companies will pay for slip-resistant footwear, said Jeff Joyce of Mieras Shoes in Grand Rapids, who takes truckloads of workboots to area companies that offer footwear stipends to employees.
“Slip resistant shoes are tested in different slippery floor conditions and marked ‘slip resistant’ if they pass,” Joyce said. “Slip resistant shoes are becoming more common and dozens of brands are now available to choose from.”
For more information on prevention, go to Michigan.gov/stopfalls.