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Colorado’s top workplace risks (and how to avoid them)

June 23, 2021
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During National Safety Month, Pinnacol reports on Colorado’s top workplace risks and how to avoid them 

It’s National Safety Month and we’re raising awareness among workers and employers about the most common drivers of often avoidable workplace injuries. 

Pinnacol claims analysis: Slipping and tripping is responsible for most worker injuries

A recent analysis of Pinnacol claims data from January 2017 through March 2021 showed that the vast majority of workers’ injuries were a result of slipping, accounting for nearly 40% of all claims. Pinnacol noted that these accidents also account for a considerable amount of reported pain and suffering, and sometimes even death. These accidents are also a frequent precursor to long-term disability claims. The National Safety Council reports that falls are the third-leading cause of unintentional death in the U.S. 

“Slipping and tripping may seem like no big deal, but falling down at work can have serious, life-altering consequences for some workers,” said Cora Gaines, Pinnacol safety consultant. “At a minimum, these accidents can affect their ability to work, and have a negative impact on their personal life as well. Who wants to go to the doctor for an injury that can be prevented? There are many easy and low-cost solutions that workers and employers can use to prevent these accidents, such as keeping aisles clear from clutter, adding a rug to a slippery floor and asking workers to clean up any spills immediately.” 

Causes of slips and trips and how to prevent these falls 

The most common causes of tripping include clutter on the floor, poor lighting, uneven walking surfaces, and sudden or unexpected changes in friction or contact between feet and the walking surface. 

Our safety team suggests a three-pronged approach to trip/slip avoidance

  1. Employee training and education. 
  2. Proper housekeeping standards, including those connected to weather-related hazards like snow and ice
  3. Wearing appropriate footwear

Pinnacol reported the top 10 risk areas in Colorado businesses are: 

  1. Slips 
  2. Steps/stairs 
  3. Clients or patients 
  4. Lifting 
  5. Trucks/vehicles 
  6. Moving 
  7. Tripping 
  8. Working with metals 
  9. Ladders (most severe) 
  10. Cleaning (as an ancillary task)

More common injury causes: Metals and cleaning 

Interestingly, working with metals puts workers at greater risk across all industries and, similarly, cleaning when it isn’t the primary duty of the job (e.g., janitorial, house cleaning), with a remarkable diversity of industries affected, circumstances involved and harm caused. Slipping and falling while cleaning is common, as are chemical exposures and interactions due to improper handling. We’re advising employers to ensure workers are trained properly when being asked to clean as part of their jobs and be given appropriate equipment, such as gloves, when necessary. Our data also showed ladder-related accidents tended to be the most severe and tended to result in Occupational Safety and Health Administration violations. 

Pinnacol has the largest team of occupational health and safety experts in the state of Colorado. Access the team anytime by emailing safetyoncall@pinnacol.com.

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