Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls at Work and Home
About 3 weeks ago on a sunny Sunday afternoon, my wife sat on the couch diligently working with her notebook computer perched on her lap. After a fairly long period of time, she set the computer to the side and stood up. Her leg had fallen asleep and as she stood, her foot rolled underneath and she groaned in pain as she fell to the floor. It was obvious that there was a problem. After removing her shoe and sock, we could see bruising and swelling around her instep, the side of her foot and her ankle. Off to the nearest urgent care center we went.
Slips, trips and falls are among the highest causes of injuries at both work and home. These mishaps total fantastic numbers reaching over 30,000 deaths and over 40,000 injuries per year! When I see statistics like these, I can’t help but think that any one of those numbers could be my loved one, friend or workmate. Statistics can’t begin to tell the story of how many people are affected when someone suffers a serious injury. Broken bones, strained muscles, torn ligaments, concussions, chronic back pain and bruises are just a few of the injuries that can result from a fall. Worst of all, when you look into most falls, they could have and certainly should have been prevented!
Here are a few tips to help abate common fall hazards:
- Housekeeping! Keep walkways, stairways and paths clear of debris and refuse
- Be sure rugs or matting is secure with edges and corners flat on the floor
- Winter ice should be addressed immediately
- Water and spills should be cleaned up or the area marked off until cleared
- Handrails on stairways should be in place and firmly mounted
- Use only proper ladders or portable steps to access high shelves or cabinets
Unfortunately, my wife is still on crutches and in pain whenever she must put that foot on the ground. None of the above tips would have applied to her accident. The orthopedic surgeon said that the tendon pulled away from the bone in her metatarsal area and healing might take 6 to 8 weeks or more. Physical therapy begins in a week or two. I have made sure that every area of the house is cleared for her to pass through on her crutches. We are very careful about the walking and working surfaces in the kitchen and baths.
It would only take a moment to observe and correct issues around your home and workplace. Please don’t become one of those many statistics. If you would like a training session on OSHA’s Walking and Working Surfaces sub-chapter, simply reach out. Avoid damaging slips, trips and falls!