July 25, 2018

How to decrease slips, trips, and falls in construction

According to the National Safety Council, 228,647 Americans were killed or injured by slips, trips and falls.

These accidents cost American businesses $11 billion annually, accounting for a staggering 65 percent of lost workdays across all businesses.

In fact, slips, trips and falls were among our top five most expensive claims between May and September last year, accounting for just over $21 million, or 28 percent of all Pinnacol claims.

Within the construction industry, slips, trips and falls are a leading cause of injury.

Construction workers change elevations frequently, scaling ladders and scaffolding. They navigate hazards such as clutter, debris and slippery surfaces. They work outside in all sorts of weather, including icy conditions.

More than half of slips and trips occur on level, flat surfaces, and they aren’t limited to wintertime. Workers should take proper precautions year-round, no matter what surface they’re on.

Raising worker awareness of the conditions around them is one way to limit these incidents. The midst of summer is always a good time to remind your team of their role in avoiding slips, trips and falls.

Give your team a pre-summer refresher on workplace safety to protect them from injury. Pass on these tips:

  • Report hazards: Workers should inform a supervisor when they notice a spill. Block off the area with cones or signs until it has been cleaned up.
  • Be tidy: Put away tools instead of leaving them out after use. Store full boxes properly, and get rid of empty ones so they do not clutter your worksite.
  • Address gaps or openings: Cover holes, and not just in floors. Watch for holes in railings too.
  • Review scaffolding requirements: Never use a damaged scaffold, and stay off them during inclement weather such as the summer thunderstorms that frequently hit Colorado.
  • Follow loading dock best practices: Make sure vehicles in the loading dock are secure, the dock has sufficient lighting and dockboards have no gaps.
  • Inspect ladders for defects: Don’t climb one until you have looked it over. If you find damage, tell your supervisor and make sure no one uses it in the meantime. Remove it from the area as soon as possible.
  • Hold a Safety Stand-Down: Talk to your employees about on-the-job hazards using these tips from OSHA.

Looking for more safety reminders? Check out our slip, trip and fall prevention and awareness resources, or contact Safety On Call at safetyoncall@pinnacol.com.