A tangle of cords laying in an aisle. An open file drawer. A cabinet door left ajar. A box in a stairwell. In our haste, we inadvertently create workplace tripping hazards every day. “We don’t think about the tripping hazard, we think about getting the job done,” said Lynn Litt, senior loss control specialist at Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company. “We’re not thinking about the others who have to step over the hazards we create.” Here are four ways you can reduce tripping hazards at work.
1. Be aware.
Employees should know their work environment and the hazards within it. “When we walk at work, sometimes we assume that because we’ve walked this path so many times,we don’t need to give it our full attention,” said Litt. “We need to focus, looking down and ahead. Is there a cord, a crack, or a wet floor ahead? Is there signage? Do I need to step over it or walk around it?”
2. Hold others accountable.
Every employee has the responsibility to reduce slips, trips, and falls because it can prevent injuries and save money. One way to make reducing tripping hazards a team effort is to discuss them regularly as a team. “Talk about potential hazards on a regular basis, pinpoint them, and how to correct them,” said Litt. For example, if a co-worker notices that there is an extension cord crossing a heavily traveled path, you could recommend installing a retractable electrical cord in the ceiling.
3. Put it away.
Finish what you start. Close the open drawer. Latch the cabinet. Carry the box all the way up the stairs. Sometimes you may come upon a spill. If you see a hazard and have the ability or authority to clean it up, do it. Otherwise, notify someone who can clean it up such as a supervisor or manager.
4. Shed some light.
A well-lit work area helps employees see what they’re doing. “I’ve inspected dim, dark workplaces. Employees may not be able to see a crack on the floor and they may trip on it,” said Litt. Inspect your workspaces to see if there are switchplates at all room entrances and stairwells so that employees can turn lights on when they enter. Some switches are motion activated. Also, inspect to see whether there is enough light to see clearly.
For more information, visit Preventing Losses on grinnellmutual.com to learn more about how you can prevent an accident in the office, at the job site, or on the farm.
Source: Grinnell Mutual Insurance, Front Porch Blog