FALLS OF ANY KIND
by Dr. Isabel Perry, “The Safety Doctor”
One in eight Workers Compensation cases results from slipping and falling. We fall for a variety of reasons:
¨ Unguarded wet floors
¨ Loss of balance
¨ Tripping over an object on the floor, such as trash, unused materials, electrical cords, tools or anything else left in the way. At home this can include pets, children, and toys.
¨ Falling from an elevated position, such as a ladder or stairs
¨ Foreign substances such as water, food, grease, oil or debris
¨ Slippery floors, which may be caused by weather when rainwater or snow is tracked inside.
To avoid becoming an unwitting victim, pick up things that you see out of place and put them away. Don’t wait for someone else to do it – they may be the one to trip or fall. If it is materials that belong to a contractor or business, let them know right away that they have a safety hazard.
Other things that you can do to stay safe:
¨ Walk in designated areas only – shortcuts may contain an unexpected hazard.
¨ Concentrate on what you’re doing
¨ Hold onto handrails when using the stairs
¨ If you are carrying a heavy load, use the elevator
The worst falls are from elevated positions, such as ladders. They can result in serious injury or death.
Positioning a ladder:
¨ The proper length for a ladder positioned against a wall is three rungs above the highest point.
¨ The proper angle for climbing a ladder is one foot away from the wall for every four feet of height. If you don’t have that, be sure to tie the ladder securely to something.
¨ When climbing or descending a ladder, place both hands on the side rails. NEVER climb a ladder with your hands full. Climb as high as you need to and hoist any tools or materials up with a rope.
¨ Once you’re at the necessary height, don’t overreach. Your body and legs should be within the ladder side rails. Extend only your arms.
¨ Make sure the scaffold is assembled according to directions.
¨ Check for defects before using a scaffold.
¨ Make sure that planking is level and clean.
¨ Toe boards will help prevent tools from falling and workers from slipping.
Slips and falls happen daily. They cause pain and suffering, sometimes death.
Stay safe – practice safety daily.