Slips, trips, and falls (STF) may seem like a minor accident in the workplace. However, STFs are the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related deaths on the worksite after vehicle accidents. In 2021 the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported 850 deaths from STFs, with another 210,000 resulting in lost time. A momentary lapse in attention or a poorly maintained workspace can lead to severe injuries or even fatalities.
The first step in preventing STFs is recognizing their potential risks and consequences. Envirocon work sites often feature uneven terrain, slippery surfaces, and numerous obstacles. Workers may encounter loose debris, wires, hoses, or equipment that can become tripping hazards if not properly managed. A fall from even a short height can result in broken bones, head injuries, back problems, or other severe trauma. These incidents can lead to medical expenses, lost workdays, decreased productivity, and, most importantly, the potential for long-term physical and psychological impacts on the affected employee.
Maintaining a clean and neat work environment is the best prevention strategy for STFs. By implementing regular housekeeping practices, such as:
- Promptly removing debris and organizing tools and equipment can significantly reduce the risk of accidents.
- All walkways, staircases, and access routes should be clear and unobstructed to ensure safe passage.
- Spills or leaks of hazardous substances should be immediately addressed and properly cleaned to prevent slippery surfaces.
Regular inspections of the work area can help identify potential hazards and address them promptly before they cause harm.
STFs should never be overlooked in our industry due to their potentially catastrophic consequences. Focusing on these tasks below will go a long way to protecting the workforce:
- Clean and neat from clutter
- Mounting and dismounting machinery properly, always using 3-points of contact.
- Utilizing ladders and harnesses properly.
- Conducting regular briefings and inspections.
Together, we can create a safer and more productive work environment that protects the well-being of all workers in the field and office.