Sure, that giant puddle of bright green coolant that just leaked out of its reservoir is pretty easy to spot. And that huge oily rainbow of sheen surrounding the fuel island is really hard to miss. But what about all of those little slippery spots that aren’t as conspicuous? Because slippery spots are harder to identify, they are the ones that are more likely to cause a slip and fall accident.
Slips, trips and falls to the same level (not those from an elevation) are the leading cause of worker accidents and lost work-time injuries. They can happen anywhere in a facility – from the parking lot to the boardroom and everywhere in between. Knowing how to find these hazards is the first step in preventing injuries and making your workplace safer.
As you walk around your facility to look for problem areas, you’re likely to find some that are unique to your operations, but here are some of the most common areas to get you started. Take a clipboard or notebook as you look around your facility and note any potential hazards — especially in these areas:
Production Areas: Overspray, machine leaks, slippery walkways, metal shavings, sawdust, condensation from pipes and clutter that extends into walkways.
Fluid Transfer Areas: Leaks and drips from pumps and faucets; leaks from fluid transfer hoses; container overfill messes; collection sumps that have overfilled; rags, wipes and other litter.
Fleet Maintenance and Washdown Areas: Open oil pans and fluid containers; oily floors; wet floors; tools; cords and other trip hazards.
Warehouses: Loose packaging materials, blocked aisles, protruding objects, leaking containers, dusty floors, roof leaks and poorly lit walkways.
Loading Docks: Rain or snow sneaking in through dock doors; packages waiting to be sorted and taken to storage; and leaks or spills from containers or packages.
Entrances: Worn entrance matting, matting with curled edges, matting that doesn’t lay flat, rain or snowmelt that isn’t captured by matting, poor lighting and floors with low friction surfaces.
Restrooms, Showers and Locker Rooms: Wet and slippery floors; waste cans that are too small and not emptied often enough; and leaky soap dispensers.
Cafeterias and Break Rooms: Leaks and drips from coffee, soda or other drinks; Food spills; and inadequately sized waste cans.
Parking Lots: Uneven walking surfaces; sheens and oily residue; crumbling concrete and asphalt; icy walkways; and poor lighting.
How does your list look? Hopefully it’s not too long, but chances are you found a couple of things that no one has noticed or mentioned. Knowing exactly what problems are or could be present is the first step in creating a floor safety plan that not only identifies hazards, but also helps outline the steps that can be taken to keep them from contributing to an injury. PIG Products like adhesive-backed mats for reducing slips and falls, absorbent mats for problem areas around leaky machines, and leak diverters to catch roof leaks can be incorporated into floor safety plans to help eliminate hazards.
You tell us: Where have you found slip, trip and fall hazards in your facility?