Monday, 25 May 2015

Slips, Trips and Falls

Next to road incidents, falls kill more people than any other kind of incident.

Causes of Slips, Trips and Falls

SLIP occurs when there is too little friction or traction between your feet and the surface you are walking on. Common causes of slips are:
• Constantly wet surfaces.
• Occasional spills.
• Weather hazards.

TRIPS can occur whenever your foot strikes an object and your momentum causes you to be thrown off balance. Trips most commonly occur when:
• Your view is obstructed.
• You take a shortcut instead of using a proven pathway.
• There is clutter, especially near a walkway.

Common causes of FALLS include:
• Using makeshift ladders (e.g. oil drums).
• Inadequate inspection of equipment.
• Poorly maintained equipment.
• Improper use of ladders.

Reasons Why You Fall

Poor Housekeeping:
 Items of equipment and rubbish left lying about the site.
• Walkways and exits blocked or not correctly signposted and/or maintained.
• Untidy and cluttered workshops.
• Oils, drilling mud’s etc., left unchecked on floors, steps etc.

Poor Workplace Design:
• Use of unsafe work practices.
• People jumping from heights, e.g. Trucks or Equipment’s.
• People running on the site.
• Work pressures and time limitations when persons tend to rush and take unnecessary risks.
• People tired, complacent, angry or frustrated and again take unnecessary risks.
• Laziness, people take the easy option and neglect the rule of safe work practices.
• The attitude “it will not happen to me”.

Hazard Identification

There are three key hazard areas that contribute to slips, trips and falls:
• Physical work environment.
• Poor systems of work.
• Human Behavior – unsafe behaviors.

Physical Work Environment:
• Constantly wet surfaces due to environmental conditions.
• Lack of traction on walking surfaces due to the absence of non-slip materials.
• Poor design of rig – e.g. lack of adequate drainage on work areas for spills, lack of handrails, slope of steps, etc.
• Poor layout of rig – cluttered walkways and exits, cords/hoses across walkways, small storage areas, restricted access to storage areas, obstructed view, etc.
• Incorrectly designated walkways and exits
• Inadequate lighting.

Systems of Work:
• Inadequate systems of work and supervision.
• Inadequate enforcement of rules.
• Inappropriate footwear (poor quality safety boots, thongs, joggers, etc.)
• Production pressures/time limitations.
• Poor communication of hazards to crew members.
• Using makeshift or faulty ladders.
• Inadequate signage.
• Lack of equipment inspection and regular maintenance.
• Poor housekeeping procedures.

Human Behavior:
• Deviation from standard work practices such as taking a shortcut instead of using a proven pathway.
• “It’s not my job to fix it” “and/or “it will not happen to me” attitude.
• Complacency.
• Using unsafe work behaviors - e.g. jumping from heights instead of climbing down.
• Not knowing your own limitations - e.g. carrying a load that is too heavy.
• Rushing and taking unnecessary risks.
• Different perceptions of risk.
• Blindness of familiarity and/or lack of respect for workplace hazards.

Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls:

• Wear correct fitting non-slip footwear suitable for the working environment.
• Do not jump from trucks, forklift equipment; climb down using a safe method.
• Do not run up/down stairs, walkways or any part of the work site.
• Identify and eliminate or report unsafe tripping hazards.
• Clean up after each task and ensure good housekeeping principles are always applied.
• If tired, angry or frustrated take a break.
• Identify the high-risk areas on the site and ensure extreme care is used when undertaking those activities.

Avoid Slips and Trips by looking for hazards and behaving safely – always look where you are walking and check for hazard signs such as slippery services, trip hazards and fall hazards such as unsupported structures or openings on top of mud tanks.

~Culled from HSE articles

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