Controlling And Preventing Slip, Trip And Fall Hazards

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1 Topic No. L-3, July, 1997 Country of Origin: Canada Risktopics Controlling And Preventing Slip, Trip And Fall Hazards The majority of slip, trip and fall accidents are preventable. Introduction This document is intended to identify and offer controls in preventing slip, trip and fall accidents. The majority of these accidents are preventable. A safe environment requires management commitment and staff education. The contents are drawn from past experiences and proven methods. Topics include: Management Commitment Hazard Control Accident Reporting Record Keeping Management Commitment Management should work with their employees to develop policies directed at eliminating risk areas for slip, trip and fall. Employees must be aware that preventing accidents is a high priority with management. Ultimately, it is management's responsibility to have written policies and ensure that they are followed. Hazard Control A. IDENTIFYING HAZARDOUS AREAS People fall because the body is suddenly put in an uncontrolled and unstable condition. Friction is required to stay on one's feet. On a frictionless surface, it would be impossible to walk. Consider walking on fresh ice with leather soled shoes. Usually when you take a step on a floor, you expect a certain amount of resistance. When water, oil, ice or food scraps are spilled on the surface, the resistance concept changes. Projections on the sole of the shoe normally interlock with the floor surface. Spilled materials fill the interlock and keeps one surface away from the other. People fall because the body is suddenly put in an uncontrolled and unstable condition Technical Risk Management Where standard solutions are the exception

2 Controlling And Preventing Slip, Trip And Fall Hazards 2/5 Even where spillage or contaminants are inevitable the lesson is that it is never too soon to clean them up; the longer they stay, the greater the risk. Floor coverings are usually a compromise between a non-slip surface and an attractive, easily cleaned surface with little friction capabilities. The smoother the surface, the more attention required through inspection and cleaning. Slip, trip and fall accidents frequently occur in the following areas: parking curbs/parking lots produce counters food preparations automatic swinging doors large glass panels and glass doors display racks, high storage areas, temporary displays hazardous products (i.e.. oils in glass containers) shopping cart drop-off or storage areas landings and staircases escalator entry/exits loose mats or wet flooring (recently mopped) The premises should be assessed for areas which may pose a risk for slip, trip and fall accidents. Problem areas with actions that will eliminate risks. A housekeeping plan should be established and areas of responsibility designated. These areas should be monitored on an ongoing basis. B. MINIMIZING THE CHANCE OF ACCIDENTS Some actions that help eliminate the possibility of slip, trip and fall include: mark or guard wet areas clean and monitor areas around produce racks frequently use rubber-backed floor mats in entranceways and problem areas inspect and maintain automatic doors: ensure "in and out" traffic flow is marked and controlled with barriers discourage high-piled freestanding displays store heavy items and hazardous products on lower shelves mark "employee only" areas with signs to discourage entry by customers ensure landings and staircases are well illuminated do not allow displaying stock on wood pallets on the floor maintain parking lots in good repair remove snow and ice from surfaces as soon as possible What could appear to be a minor accident at the time may have serious repercussions later

3 Accident Reporting What could appear to be a minor accident at the time may have serious repercussions later. A tremendous amount of energy is generated in a fall through only two or three feet of space, more than enough to cause a serious or fatal injury. Therefore, every accident should be treated as potentially serious. A report should be filled at the time of the accident because it is difficult to remember details at a later time. Management should investigate or review every accident. In the event of an accident: comfort the victim Controlling And Preventing Slip, Trip And Fall Hazards 3/5 eliminate the hazardous situation immediately do not attempt to administer 1st aid, if the situation warrants, call for medical assistance take photographs of the incident area conduct a comprehensive report detailing the time and location of the incident, weather conditions, information regarding the victim and any statements from witnesses; determine potential mitigating circumstances, such as whether or not the victim appeared to be under the influence of alcohol, drugs or medication, had poor vision, or was running or carrying objects to obscure vision and note type and condition of footwear at the time the incident occurred A report should be filled at the time of the accident because it is difficult to remember details at a later time

4 Controlling And Preventing Slip, Trip And Fall Hazards 4/5 ACCIDENT REPORT DATE: VICTIM TIME: NAME: ADDRESS: CITY: PROVINCE: POSTAL CODE: PHONE: OCCUPANTION: CHIEF COMPLAINT OF VICTIM: INCIDENT VICTIM S DESCRIPTION OF ACCIDENT: SIGNED WITNESS (1) WITNESS (2) NAME: NAME: ADDRESS: ADDRESS: PHONE: PHONE: RELATIONSHIP: RELATIONSHIP: NAME OF REPORTER ID REPORT RECEIVED BY: DESCRIPTION OF ACCIDENT AREA: PHOTO/VIDEO OF SCENE: YES NO MANAGEMENT REPORT:

5 Controlling And Preventing Slip, Trip And Fall Hazards 5/5 Record Keeping A good set of records reflects a highly responsible management and provides proof of their commitment to safety. Accident reports should be maintained in a binder. copies of the most recent housekeeping/inspection/repair schedule should be kept with the accident report an accident register should be kept for quick reference so problem areas can be identified and corrected early annual or semi-annual audits by management or designated employee is recommended Visit us on the Internet: Follow links: for customers > products - risk management Working In partnership with our Customers to prevent and control the impact of Losses. Copyright (1997) by Zurich Insurance Company ("Zurich Canada"), Toronto, Canada. All rights reserved. Permission granted to reproduce this Technical Topic in its complete and original form. Disclaimer THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS PUBLICATION HAS BEEN OBTAINED FROM SOURCES BELIEVED TO BE RELIABLE. SOME OF THE INFORMATION MAY BE TIME SENSITIVE THUS, YOU SHOULD CONSULT THE MOST RECENT EDITIONS OF THE REFERENCED MATERIAL. LEGALLY ENFORCEABLE CODES AND STANDARDS VARY FROM JURISDICTION TO JURISDICTION. THIS PUBLICATION DOES NOT ADDRESS THESE VARIATIONS. ZURICH CANADA, ITS COMPANIES AND EMPLOYEES DO NOT MAKE ANY WARRANTY OR REPRESENTATION, EITHER EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED, WITH RESPECT TO THE ACCURACY, COMPLETENESS, OR UTILITY OF; NOR DO WE ASSUME ANY LIABILITY OF ANY KIND WHATSOEVER RESULTING FROM THE USE, OR RELIANCE UPON; ANY INFORMATION, MATERIAL OR PROCEDURE CONTAINED HEREIN. THE MENTION OF ANY COMPANY, ASSOCIATION OR PRODUCT IN THIS PUBLICATION IS FOR INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT CONSTITUTE A RECOMMENDATION BY ZURICH CANADA OF ANY SUCH COMPANY, ASSOCIATION OR PRODUCT EITHER EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED. Zurich Canada Technical Risk Management 400 University, 18 th Floor Toronto, ON M5G 1S7 Risk Engineering Driven Services Team-Based Solutions Knowledge Transfer Telephone (416) Fax (416)

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