Falls are the most common office accident, accounting for the greatest number of disabling injuries. Falls among office workers are two to two and one-half times more likely to cause disabling injuries than falls among non-office employees.
The following checklist can help stop a fall before it happens:
- Be sure the pathway is clear before you walk.
- Secure electrical cords and wires away from walkways.
- Close drawers completely after every use. One of the most common causes of office falls is tripping over an open desk or file drawer.
- Avoid excessive bending, twisting, and leaning backward while seated.
- Always use handrails when walking up/down stairs.
- Use a stepladder for overhead reaching. Never use chairs as ladders.
- Clean up spills immediately.
- Pick up objects co-workers may have left on the floor.
- Report loose carpeting or damaged flooring.
- Never carry anything that obscures your view. Carrying too much material not only blocks your view, but also could strain your back.
- Wear stable shoes with non-slip soles.
Most offices seem to have an intersection that needs a traffic light to keep people from bumping into each other. If there are blind corners, consider installing convex mirrors so people can see each other coming. Be especially careful while carrying hot drinks.
If you find yourself heading for a fall, remember – roll, don’t reach. By letting your body crumple and roll, you’re more likely to absorb the impact and momentum of a fall without injury. Reaching out with an arm or leg to break your fall may break a limb instead.
Fortunately, all of these fall hazards are preventable. When you see a hazard, don’t assume it’s someone else’s responsibility. If you don’t do something about it, who will?
What ideas do you have to prevent office falls?
- Remind your workers to play it safe and avoid taking risks.
- Encourage employees to report unsafe conditions immediately to the nearest supervisor.
- Make it a habit to work safely, regardless of time pressures and productivity goals.
- Provide non-skid strips or floor mats in slippery or wet areas.
- Conduct regular inspections to identify potential slip and fall hazards. Give special attention to walking surfaces, lighting, stairways, and ladders