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Eye Safety & Safety Glasses (Jan/Feb-24)
Protecting Employees When Performing Machine Operations (Nov/Dec-23)
Protecting Students from Machine Hazards (Jul/Aug-23)
Electrical Safety (May/Jun-23)
Machine Guarding (Jan/Feb-23)
Have We Learned Anything About Safety Over the Last Fifty Years? (Nov/Dec-22)
OSHA Annouces 2021 Top 10 Frequently Cited Standards (Sep/Oct-22)
Have You Conducted Your Periodic Lockout & Tagout Audit? (Jan/Feb-22)
Workplace Violence (Jul/Aug-21)
Do You or Your Supervisors Really Care About Worker Safety? (May/Jun-21)
Creating A Safety Culture (Nov/Dec-20)
Before You Purchase New Machinery (Sep/Oct-20)
Do You or Your Supervisors Really Care About Worker Safety? (May/Jun-20)
OSHA Issues Interim Guidance to Help Prevent Worker Exposure to Coronavirus (COVID-19) (Mar/Apr-20)
Have You Recently Conducted Your Required Safety & Health Program Audits? (Nov/Dec-19)
Does OSHA Cite Employers Equally? (May/Jun-19)
Are You Ready For The New Year? (Mar/Apr-19)
Creating a Safety Culture Means Staying Informed (Nov/Dec-18)
Safe Lifting Techniques (Sep/Oct-18)
Are Your Machines Safe to Operate? (Jul/Aug-18)
Do You Know How Old Your Tires Really Are? (Jan/Feb-18)
Risk Assessment & Premise Liability Insurance (Nov/Dec-17)
Forklift Safety – You Can Save A Life Today (Sep/Oct-17)
Protect Your Employees from Heat Stress Related Injuries (Jul/Aug-17)
Lockout-Tagout from a Manager’s Perspective (May/Jun-17)
Do Your Employees Really Know How to Use Personal Protective Equipment? (Mar/Apr-17)
OSHA & Lockout/Tagout (Nov/Dec-16)
OSHA Increases Their Penalties Towards Employers (Jul/Aug-16)
Do You Know What Your Experience Modification Rate Is? (May/Jun-16)
Machine Safety (Sep/Oct-15)
Lockout, Tagout & Tryout – Are You in Compliance? (Jul/Aug-15)
Forklift Safety Practices (May/Jun-15)
Using the Right Power Saw to Cut Plastic Materials (Mar/Apr-15)
OSHA & Machine Safeguarding (Jan/Feb-15)
Ergonomics (Sep/Oct-14)
Respiratory Protection . . . Does Your Program Protect? (May/Jun-14)
First Aid Program (Mar/Apr-14)
Working with Composite Materials Safely and Preventing Dermatitis (Jan/Feb-14)
Preventing Winter Slips, Trips and Falls (Nov/Dec-13)
The Globally Harmonized System for Hazard Communication – Are You Ready For It? (Sep/Oct-13)
Safety & New Employee Orientation (Jul/Aug-13)
Liquefied Petroleum Gas Safety (May/Jun-13)
Posting of OSHA Notices (Jan/Feb-13)
Staying Safe This Winter (Nov/Dec-12)
Personal Protection - Storage, Maintenance and Care (Sep/Oct-12)
Machine Safeguarding (Jul/Aug-12)
Is Your Lockout & Tagout Program Working? (May/Jun-12)
Getting Familiar with OSHA (Mar/Apr-12)
Is Your Piping Systems Properly Marked? (Jan/Feb-12)
Accident Prevention, Does Your Company Have An Effective Program? (Nov/Dec-11)
Defining FR – Flame Resistant Fabrics (Jul/Aug-11)
OSHA's Flammable & Combustible Liquids (May/Jun-11)
Safety & Health Program Check-up (Jan/Feb-11)
OSHA Is My Friend (Nov/Dec-10)
OSHA Standard for Control of Hazardous Energy Sources? (Sep/Oct-10)
Lockout/Tagout Program (Jul/Aug-10)
Safe Handling of Compressed Gas Cylinders (May/Jun-10)
What You Should Know about OSHA and Plastic Working Machinery (Mar/Apr-10)
Fasten Those Forklift Seat Belts (Jan/Feb-10)
My Back Hurts (Nov/Dec-09)
Fall Protection Program (Sep/Oct-09)
Accident Prevention & Investigation (Jul/Aug-09)
OSHA & Machine Safeguarding (May/Jun-09)
Carbon Monoxide Hazards (Mar/Apr-09)
OSHA Electrical Safety and Training (Jan/Feb-09)
Free Forklift ANSI Standards (Nov/Dec-08)
Worksite Fire Emergencies (Sep/Oct-08)
Machine Safety (Jul/Aug-08)
Ladder Safety (May/Jun-08)
Is Your Company on OSHA's Hit List?
OSHA Notifies Workplaces with High Injury and Illness Rates (Mar/Apr-08)
Safety Means . . . Never Having to Say You're Sorry (Jan/Feb-08)
Flammables and Combustible Liquids (Nov/Dec-07)
Designing-In Safety NOT Retrofitting Safety (Sep/Oct-07)
Back Safety and Lifting (Jul/Aug-07)
Machine Guarding (May/Jun-07)
Your Hearing Keep it for a Lifetime (Mar/Apr-07)
Light Up the Holidays the Safe Way (Nov/Dec-06)
Would You Risk Your Employee's Life? (Sep/Oct-06)
How to Control Workers' Compensation Costs (Jul/Aug-06)
Compliance with 70E Electrical Standards (May/Jun-06)
OSHA Is on the Move (Mar/Apr-06)
Workplace Violence (Jan/Feb-06)
The Aging Workforce (Nov/Dec-05)
The Safety Paradox (Sep/Oct-05)
Machine Guarding (Jul/Aug-05)
Effective Risk Management (May/Jun-05)
Safety Is Everyone's Business (Mar/Apr-05)
New Year's Resolution Safety (Jan/Feb-05)
Safe Driving (Nov/Dec-04)
Terror In The Skies Revisited (Sep/Oct-04)
How They Got Hurt (Jul/Aug-04)
In-Plant Air Monitoring & Analysis (May/Jun-04)
Safety on the Job and Complying with the Americans With Disabilities Act (Mar/Apr-04)
Link to Article Archive (Jan/Feb-04)
A Supervisor's Duty (Nov/Dec-03)
Machine Safety – Are Your Machines Safe to Operate? (Sep/Oct-03)
Summer is Here (Jul/Aug-03)
Working Safely On Powered Industrial Trucks (Forklifts) (May/Jun-03)
Does Your Safety and Health Workplace Program Contain All of These Elements? (Mar/Apr-03)
Methylene Chloride (Jan/Feb-03)
Safety Signs & Labels - Does Your Facility Comply? (Nov/Dec-02)
Indoor Air Quality (Sep/Oct-02)
When OSHA Arrives (Jul/Aug-02)
Facts About the Occupation Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) (May/Jun-02)
Workplace Fire Safety (Mar/Apr-02)
OSHA 300 Form (Jan/Feb-02)
Preparing for Disaster (Nov/Dec-01)
How Much is a Life Worth? (Sep/Oct-01)
Material Handling Programs (Jul/Aug-01)
It's Up To You To Protect Your Skin (May/Jun-01)
When You’ve Been Handed the Responsibility for Safety (Mar/Apr-01)
A Fresh Look at Machine Safeguarding (Jan/Feb-01)
Safe Work Habits (Nov/Dec-00)
The Importance of Material Safety Data Sheets (Sep/Oct-00)
Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (Jul/Aug-00)
Lockout/Tagout Program (May/Jun-00)
OSHA Violations, Citations and Penalties for 1998 (Mar/Apr-00)
Erogonomics and Machinery Safeguarding (Jan/Feb-00)
General Machine Principles (Nov/Dec-99)
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SAFETY SOLUTIONS: Preventing Winter Slips, Trips and Falls

Summer is over and fall and winter is starting to show up in the United States. If you live in Arizona like I do then, as you may know our best season is here. For others that live back East or in the Northwest you will soon be seeing the change in the weather. So in getting ready for this change of seasons, I would like to write about slips, trips and falls since these types of injuries account for about 15% – 20% of all workers’ compensation costs and cause approximately 300,000 injuries and more than 1,500 deaths each year.

Cold weather brings with it a number of hazards: slips and falls from wet floors, stairs and ice; frostbite and hypothermia from exposure to extreme temperatures; overexertion when removing snow; and injury from snowplows and power shovels. Cold weather risks also include carbon monoxide poisoning from improperly vented heating systems, vehicles and generators; and accidents caused by inattentive driving, bad weather and poor road conditions. While all of these winter hazards can cause serious injuries, preventing slips and falls is the focus of this article.

No. 1 Accident Cause

In any season, slips, trips and falls are the number one cause of workplace injuries reported and matching national trends. Even the safest businesses are not immune. To help you prepare for the change in seasons, please follow the safety information that is listed below:

Keep It Dry

Snow, water or ice can cause falls, so address them now instead of waiting for an accident to happen. Be sure to clean and mop floors continually, or place non-slip absorbent mats at entrances. This is especially important in retail store locations, building lobbies, and similar high traffic areas where people drip snow, water and mud from their shoes.

Floor surface maintenance is also an important consideration. Be certain that your staff uses proper cleaning, stripping and finishing products on tile and vinyl floors; using the wrong products (or using them improperly) increases the risk of slipping hazards. Train staff to watch power cords of cleaning and buffing machines to prevent tripping. Use “wet floor” signs and barricades when appropriate.

Clear That Snow Many areas of our country receive significant snowfall, but the slightest amount of snow can cause problems. Review your snow removal plans annually:

  • Ensure that employees receive adequate training on snow removal equipment.
  • Do they know how to operate blowers, power shovels and tractors? Can they clear jams and blockages safely? The law prohibits anyone under 18 from using powered equipment.
  • Perform recommended periodic equipment checks and maintenance.
  • Familiarize workers with your terrain and problem spots.
  • If you use contractors, confirm that snow removal firms are ready to provide service.
  • Check that ice or snow-melting chemicals are appropriate for the temperature and surfaces on which they will be used. Gravel walks and parking lots have caused slips and falls; one policyholder paved them after sustaining a large winter claim. If possible, direct workers and customers to avoid gravel walks and paths during winter.

Emphasize Attentive Work Habits

An important step in reducing winter slips and falls is having your employees watch their step. Lack of attention when walking is a major cause of many slip-and-fall injuries. Instruct workers to focus on what’s underfoot, especially checking for slippery patches and snow that might conceal ice.

The transition from a carpeted to polished floor can also be hazardous. Make these items part of your winter safety training:

  • Just as in driving, avoid distractions where walking is treacherous.
  • Require workers to wear appropriate footwear for the weather and working conditions, especially if they work outside, or frequently go from indoors to outdoors. Many employers requires staff to change from outdoor shoes to indoor shoes for work indoors.
  • Workers who carry items should follow safe lifting and carrying procedures to maintain their balance. Never twist or make abrupt turns when lifting, but especially when the footing is slippery.

When I was with a large manufacturer, we found that by coating our floors with a non-slip floor coating for the first 25 to 50 feet on the walking areas into the manufacturing areas, reduced our slips, trips and falls tremendously. We also coated the entrances into the facility where our industrial trucks were operating. By coating these work areas, the industrial truck operators were able to stop quicker in case of an emergency. You and your workers can avoid winter slips and falls by following basic precautions and using common sense.

For more information, click on the author biography at the top of the page.

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