How to Avoid Slips, Trips, and Falls Caused By Weather
Slips, trips, and falls due to weatherWe’ve highlighted the importance of avoiding heat stress at work. However, colder weather also presents health and safety concerns for workers. We recently spoke with Regional Safety Manager Priscilla Morgan to learn more winter weather safety hazards. Morgan has over nine years of combined recruiting and safety experience. She highlights winter weather presents a bevy of hazards to include slippery roads/surfaces and environmental cold.
What is the most common cause of slips, trips, and falls?Weather-related accidents are one of the most common causes of slips, trips, and falls in the workplace. The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that 211,640 workers were injured in 2020. Falls are one of the most common, yet most preventable accidents according to the NSC. Morgan states that slips become a common hazard during rain or heavy snow.
“Think about how snow builds up and what happens when people come indoors with snow on their clothes. It melts and water collects on the floor — creating a slip hazard,” says Morgan.
Why is it important to prevent slips, trips, and falls in the workplace?
It’s important to prevent slips, trips, and falls in the workplace because a safe working environment not only makes everyone more comfortable, but it also increases productivity. Along with notifying your supervisor of any weather-related hazards, also be sure to lookout for common safety issues.
“When we visit a client’s worksite, often we’ll see little pieces of plastic tape on the ground or pieces of paper, those are trip hazards too. The approach should be ‘see something, say something’,” says Morgan.
Who is responsible for creating a safe work environment?
Ultimately, employers are responsible for creating a safe work environment.
“An employer is responsible for ensuring that their facility is free from any recognized hazards. This includes anything that has to do with their facility including power outages, clearing the parking lot and walkways. If trees are down, they are responsible for communicating with the local utility company to have them cleared,” says Morgan.
While workplace safety is an employer responsibility, we all play a role in keeping one another safe at work.
“I know that it's sort of sometimes cliche, but we should be each other's keeper. If an employee recognizes a hazard, they should do everything they can to bring it to the attention of the employer,” says Morgan.
How to avoid slips, trips, and falls during winter
The key to avoiding slips, trips, and falls is being aware and proactive. Becoming complacent in your work can lead to accidents. Stay updated on your company's safety procedures and follow the following tips from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and NSC on how to avoid slips, trips, and falls in the workplace.
- Place wet clothing and outerwear in areas where they dry safely
- Scan you work area for potential hazards before starting work
- If working outside, check the weather forecast — never work in inclement weather
- Wear the proper equipment for the job and tools being used
- Practice safe walking skills, use short, controlled steps
- Call out any hazards to your supervisors immediately
“Employers must empower their workers to use their voice when it comes to recognizing safety hazards. Contract employees should remember that they can also reach out to their Aerotek representatives. We also have a safety hotline where they can share their concerns,” says Morgan.
It’s important to remember there are risks associated with all seasons and winter presents unique safety hazards. It’s an employer’s role to provide a safe workplace, but we all can be more proactive in noticing and reporting potential hazards. This helps keep you and your team safe in the workplace.
To learn more about Aerotek’s health and safety services, contact us today.