Three main factors contributing to slips, trips and falls in the workplace

A smooth floor, freshly drenched in a combination of oils and water, casual footwear, a fallen sign, and a hasty employee, a recipe for disaster. And that’s just one scenario that could cause an expensive slip, trip or fall.

The food manufacturing industry of Australia presents a face-paced, standards-conscience industry, fraught with risks and challenges like no other. Time doesn’t allow for a nasty slip, trip or fall, particularly not one that sends an employee home with life-long injuries, and the company into a whirlwind of fines, court cases and a ruined reputation.

There are endless possible causes to slips, trips and falls in the workplace, however all of these come under one of three main factors; the environment, the organisation and the individual.

The Environment

The biggest contributing factor to slips, trips and falls is the environment. There are many elements within the environment that can increase this risk.

  • Contamination of the floor due to spillages, debris, and wet cleaning.
  • Slip resistance of the floor not properly maintained due to incorrect or inadequate cleaning
  • Slip resistance of the floor is too low, as an incorrect finish was installed and is not rough enough, or has slowly worn down over time
  • Steps and slopes: steps are too sudden and not well marked, slopes are steeper than the recommendation

A lot of these elements can be reduced through careful planning, and implementing rules and regulations to ensure maintenance of the floor is upheld, and the right flooring solution is installed from the start.

The Organisation

The second largest contributing factor to slips, trips and falls is the organisation. Within the organisation, there are three main aspects that increase this risk.

  • Layout of work premises and general traffic flow, not allowing for slip potential areas, or marking particularly hazardous areas
  • Not having a safety culture, safety not meaning enough in the organisation
  • Inadequate supervision, risks and behavior not monitored correctly

The layout of the workplace is critical for ensuring safety. Traffic management plans need to be implemented to ensure that everyone understands where they can and can’t go. It is important that safety plays a big role in the culture of the organisation, with risks and behaviour properly monitored.

The Individual

Another important factor to recognise is that safety on the floor is everyone’s responsibility. Adequate training needs to be provided, to ensure that employees understand their role in keeping the workplace safe. Individuals who can introduce simple, better ways that increase safety in the workplace need to be rewarded.

It is critical that shoes and slip resistance are matched. Typically, companies have a dress standard that must be upheld in the factory, and often gumboots are supplied to ensure no bacteria is spread onto the floor. In areas where the floor is oily or slippery due to washdown or production liquids, it is particularly important that the correct shoes are worn.

To learn more about what you can do to improve employee safety at your site, please visit our website: https://alliedfinishes.com/


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