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Slip and Fall Injury Statistics & Prevention

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An estimated 300,000 disabling injuries occur each year in the American work force, resulting in 1,400 worker deaths. Slips, trips and falls account for 15 to 20 percent of all workers compensation costs.

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 303,800 workplace fall injuries in 2000.

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A new American National Standard from the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) focuses on reducing slip and fall injuries in the workplace, the second leading cause of incidental workplace deaths.

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A1264.2, "Standard for the Provision of Slip Resistance on Walking/Working Surfaces", explores surface characteristics, footwear traction properties and environmental factors of slip resistance to ensure a safer walking and working environment. The standard provides basic guidelines for professionals to apply to their own workplace.

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According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 15 percent of incidental workplace deaths are caused by slips, trips and falls, second only to traffic accident fatalities.

The standard covers:

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floor characteristics, including how to install mats and runners;

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controlling access to areas with a slippery environment and providing appropriate signage;

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footwear traction properties, such as a shoes sole design to ensure slip resistance;

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housekeeping training and maintenance;

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surface testing equipment; and

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floor selection.

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Source, ISHN Online, ASSE.

A variety of policies and practices can be established to reduce the number of injuries and deaths due to slips, trips and falls.

A few suggestions:

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Owners, managers and supervisors must make a commitment to prevent accidental slips, trips and falls.

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Conduct frequent inspections of working and walking areas to identify any hazards that could cause slips, trips and falls. Special attention should be given to working and walking surfaces, housekeeping, lighting, visibility, stairways and ladders. Immediately correct dangerous situations.

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As mandated by OSHA, provide extensive safety training on the prevention of slips, trips and falls for all new employees. Regular retraining should be provided for all employees. Give special attention to proper walking, carrying, and climbing as well as descending stairways, ladders, vehicles and equipment. Unsafe practices should be corrected immediately.

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All workers should wear proper footwear for their work and environment whether in the office, shop, plant, or field.

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Prohibit riders on tractors, trucks or other self-powered or towed equipment unless a safe seat or workstation is provided.

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Report and record all slips, trips and falls, with or without injury. Every incident should be thoroughly investigated. Take immediate corrective action to prevent repeat occurrences.

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Source, ISHN Online, ASSE.

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ANSI sets standards for shoes and boots. Never purchase work shoes that do not meet these standards. A typical ANSI rating could be 1-75 C-25. This means that the toe will withstand 75 foot pounds of impact and 2,500 pounds of compression.

Tips for safe footwear:

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The soles and heels should be slip-resistant

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The toe of the shoe should resist crushing injuries

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The shoe should support the ankle

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