Construction accidents involving slips, trips, and falls are responsible for causing a high number of accidents on the jobsite. In fact, falls account for approximately 40 percent of all fatalities that are experienced by construction workers and are the second leading cause of serious injuries. Although it makes up a large portion of OSHA’s safety training, it’s important to continually refresh workers’ memories to ensure they are staying as safe as possible. Take the time to review best practices for how to prevent slips, trips, and falls:
A slip occurs when there is not enough friction or traction between your feet and the ground or surface you are walking on. Slips can be caused by wet surfaces, spills, or other weather hazards, such as ice or snow. Make sure to clean up or report any spills or grease buildup right away – even small spills can be extremely dangerous. There are three factors that greatly increase the chance of slipping: wearing the wrong kind of shoes, hurrying or running, and not paying attention where you are walking. In addition to wearing proper footwear, always practice safe walking skills on slippery surfaces by taking short steps to keep your center of balance directly under you.
Trips are caused when your foot strikes an object and you are moving with enough momentum to be thrown off balance. Like slips, a key part of preventing trips is by paying close attention to your footing and where you are walking. You should always make sure you can see the path ahead of you – don’t carry loads that you cannot see over. Ensure that your work area consistently remains clean and tidy, and store all materials and supplies in the appropriate storage areas. Additionally, all walkways and work areas should be well lit, especially at night.
Though they are preventable by following the proper safety protocol, falls have long been the leading cause of death in construction. Given this elevated risk, the importance of consistently reviewing fall prevention measures cannot be overstated. OSHA offers a comprehensive fall prevention campaign that focuses on raising awareness among workers and employers about common fall hazards in construction, including ladders, scaffolds, and roofs. The campaign focuses on three areas: planning ahead to get the job done safely, providing the right equipment, including ladders, scaffolding, and safety gear, and implementing sitewide training to ensure that workers are all up to speed.