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Slips, trips and falls are summer's most expensive claims

May 23, 2017
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Whether a May snowstorm is upon us or the sun is shining, spring and summer months are naturally a busy time for many Colorado industries. Often during a busy period, deadlines get tighter and workers get hastier, and common hazards can get overlooked. Between this seasonal spike in business and a booming Colorado economy, this summer we expect to see an uptick in claims for many of the industries we cover, including construction, landscaping, manufacturing and agriculture.

But what type of claim is the most severe? Last year between the months of May and September, we found that, even without the winter threat of snow and ice, slip, trip and fall injuries topped out as the season’s most expensive claims. These claims cost employers more than $29 million — almost a third of Pinnacol’s total claims costs for that time period.

Get to know the common slip, trip and fall hazards so you can help your workers stay safe and keep your profits secure.

Top 6 slip, trip and fall hazards

1. Poor housekeeping

Don’t let housekeeping fall to the wayside. Put things away immediately after deliveries and make sure to store things properly. Clean up, and warn employees with a caution sign after food and water spills; it’s also important to take care of lumpy and worn mats.

2. Office environment

Even an office presents potential for slip, trip and fall injuries. Things like worn-out carpets; open drawers; and objects on the floor, such as exposed cables and cords, are hazardous. Quick-fix problematic carpet with duct tape, take time to keep drawers closed, and reroute cords and cables.

3. Stairs

Watch out for things that make stairs even more dangerous than usual — including poor lighting, loose/missing handrails and clutter. Improve stairway lighting and replace bulbs regularly; use handrails; and no matter what, don’t use stairs for storage.

4. Stepstools and ladders

Use only properly maintained ladders with uniformly spaced rungs and nonslip safety feet to reach items. Do not use stools, chairs or boxes as substitutes for ladders, and train employees to safely use ladders.

5. Weather

As we’ve seen recently, Colorado’s weather can be unpredictable. Even when snow and ice aren’t present, wet weather can present problems for slip, trip and fall prevention. Make sure employees are wearing appropriate footwear and walking cautiously in wet or muddy conditions.

6. Inappropriate footwear

Ensure employee footwear is replaced when necessary, meets industry slip-resistant standards and has appropriate traction. Don’t forget that new technology offers enhanced rubber compounds and studs for soles.

Want more? Check out our library of resources that focus on slip, trip and fall prevention and awareness. Safety consultants are also available to answer any of your questions. Contact Safety On Call at safetyoncall@pinnacol.com.

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