June is National Safety Month
The National Safety Council dedicates the month of June to spread awareness on reducing leading causes of injury and death at work, on the road and in our homes and communities. This year the safety conversation is focused on the topics of hazard recognition, slips, trips and falls, fatigue, and impairment. At Jessup Manufacturing, we are focused on slips, trips and falls because they are some of the most common hazards we face every day, and they can have serious consequences. For example, falls are continually a top cause of unintentional injury and death at work, in homes and communities with more than 8.7 million people injured from slip, trip and fall incidents every year in the United States. So, we are highlighting ways to stay safe at work, home and in the community.
Falls at Work
Falls at work repeatedly remain a top reason for injury and death on the job—in both construction and general industry workplaces with over 7,200 violations documented by OSHA in 2018 alone. Fall Protection – Training Requirements is another OSHA standard that is continually on the Top 10 Most Cited, with a 30% increase from 2017 to 2018 in citations. These accidents are bound to happen, but by following OSHA guidelines and best practices, we can work together to lessen workplace slips, trips and falls. Some key tips to remember when preventing falls at work include:
Utilize non-slip products around the facility, especially on heavy machinery, ladders, and stairs. Using an anti-slip tape that is certified “High Traction” by the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) and is also mop friendly is ideal. Our Safety Track® 3100 Commercial Grade is great around heavy foot traffic in commercial environments. A stair tread product like the Safety Track 3200 Heavy Duty offers high slip resistance both indoors and outdoors, even offering slip resistance to oil, mud and diesel fuel making it an excellent option for stairs, ladders or machinery.
Know OSHA requirements for fall prevention. Some often overlooked requirements include:
- Vertical lifelines or lanyards have a minimum breaking strength of 5,000 pounds, and be protected against being cut or abraded and each employee MUST be attached to a separate vertical lifeline and anchor points capable of supporting at least 5,000 lbs. per attached employee.
- Employees working on a surface with an unprotected side/edge that’s six feet or more above a lower level must use fall protection (guardrails, safety nets, or personal fall arrest systems)
- Have a training program in place for employees that might be exposed to fall hazards. This program should give the employee the ability to recognize the hazards of falling and train them in the procedures in order to minimize hazards. As an employer, don’t forget to continue education and keep employees up to date on safety requirements.
Slip-resistant shoes might seem like a small change, but in the workplace, this can go a long way when it comes to preventing slip and fall accidents. Make it mandatory for employees who work in high-risk slip and fall areas to wear slip-resistant shoes.
Make it clear to your employees that you have an open door policy when it comes to reporting slip and fall hazards. Create a hazard reporting system or allow employees to fill out a form to report their concerns anonymously. These hazards could easily be resolved with a solution and with compensation and medical costs associated with employee slip and fall accidents around $70 billion annually according to National Safety Council Injury Facts —the threat is very real that one could occur if proper prevention measures are not taken.
Falls at Home
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention stated that around 235,000 people 15 years and older visit emergency rooms each year because of bathroom-related injuries. Besides the bathroom, the rest of the home can also create hazards for slip and fall accidents, thanks to slippery and uneven walking areas, clutter, poor lighting, and simply not paying attention. Our top housekeeping tips to prevent slip and fall accidents at home include:
- Bathroom slip and fall prevention: Bathrooms always get a bad rap. Being constantly wet, and with lots of hard surfaces and generally small, it can prove to be a potentially hazardous space. Considering putting a medium grade non-slip product around the sink and toilet areas which withstand shoe traffic, but it is also comfortable for bare feet. Our Safety Track 3500 is certified “High Traction” by the National Floor and Safety Institute (NFSI) and is also mop-friendly for easy cleaning. A bath mat and handrails in the shower, along with a nightlight, are some other top tips to keeping your bathroom a safer space.
- Kitchen slip and fall prevention: Kitchens can get dirty and cluttered quickly, so by combating these two things, you will be well on your way to preventing slip and fall accidents. First, consider adding non-slip mats or grip tape around the stove top and sink areas. Make sure chairs are tucked in and tripping hazards are picked up. Immediately clean up any spills and choose a cleaning product for floors that is NFSI-certified. These cleaning products are designed to cut through grease, but still keep floors high traction and non-slip.
- Bedroom and living area fall prevention: The simple tasks of keeping the floor clear of clutter goes a long way in these areas. Cords are a huge offender, so put them away or tape them down as close to the wall as possible. Keep items used regularly on a nightstand or end table so they are easily reachable. Also, adding non-slip treads for stairs can be especially helpful for young children or older adults to prevent slip and fall accidents. Consider a product that bare feet will find comfortable, like the Flex Track 4100, product which is easy to apply and remove if needed.
- Garages and outdoor spaces should be kept clean and tidy. Make sure to have deicer handy if you live in an area where cold weather hits and also replace any light bulbs in these spaces immediately to keep them well lit. Fix any loose handrails, steps, and make sure all nails are hammered fully into place.
Falls in the Community
Falls around your community can happen for a number of reasons. We include tips for business owners and patrons to help do their part in preventing slip and fall accidents around the community. Working together, we can help reduce the number of accidents taking place and make our community a safer place for everyone.
- Restaurant owners should consider choosing a non-slip tread that can stand up to heavy foot traffic and the liquid elements thrown at it. Jessup’s Safety Track 3500 offers an easy way for restaurants to prevent slip and falls, both front and back of the house. We recommend putting non-slip treads in front of the stove where grease and oil can commonly fly up, sink areas, and any longer walkway where people might be prone to walk quickly. Continually have employees checking communal guest kitchen areas during peak hours and put up signs in guest kitchens to offer a reminder and warning that floors maybe slippery.
- As a business owner, make sure to do quarterly fall prevention assessments of your space to make sure light bulbs are changed, flooring is in a safe condition, and clutter is removed. Ensure that mops, cleaning products, and slippery/wet floor signs are easily available to your employees. Having stair treads are also imperative to preventing slip and fall accidents within your business, not to mention they are cost effective. Besides handrails, it is highly recommended to put stair treads both indoors and outdoors of businesses.
- Do your part and put your phone down! Distracted walking is becoming more and more common. It is extremely hazardous to look down at your phone while walking the streets. The Journal of Safety Research found that over a period of ten years, distracted walking was responsible for more than 10,000 serious injuries. Put your phone on silent if you are tempted to look at it while you walk down the street. If you really need to respond to a text message, then move to the side and stop moving to keep you and others safe.
- Wear proper footwear around town. Make sure you have well-fitting shoes and choose them wisely based on the amount of walking you are doing and where you are walking. Rubber-soled shoes are ideal as they will help ensure you don’t slip and fall.
- The National Safety Council is continually making great strides in safety that impacts all areas of our lives. Take time this June to review the National Safety Month materials and help us initiate change for the better.