Philadelphia Injury News

Slips, Trips, and Falls in Construction

Whether you are at home or involved in construction, you only need to look around for the potential of slipping, tripping and falling. It seems that slips and falls are facts of life and nothing can be done about them. While it is true that slips, trips and falls cannot be eliminated but it can be reduced, even in construction sites.

One type of fall is the foot-level fall where the person falls to the same level on which he or she was walking or standing. Two kinds of hazards account for more than 90 % of all foot-level falls, they are: slipping hazards and tripping hazards. A person may slip on oily or wet surfaces and fall or a person could trip and fall over some obstacle placed on a floor surface.

These are some of the causes why people slip and fall:

1.The traction between footwear and floor surface is gone or reduced due to the presence of water, oil, grease, sand, mud, ice and other substances;

1. Traction robbing substances on the floor surface, such as water, oil, grease, sand, mud, ice and other substances.

2. The material of the floor has little or no traction, such as metal floor worn smooth from abrasive traffic, or smooth finished concrete;

3. Absence of traction associated with the type of shoes, such as hard leather heels, metal heel plates, and worn heels, slippery substances on soles or heels; and

4. A common cause is that the individual is inattentive where he or she is going. In other words, it is the absence of attention.

Considering these factors, one is able to recognize some hazards so that prevention techniques can be adopted such as inspecting walkways and floor surfaces regularly. Look out for the presence of drips or spills from oil, grease, liquids, water and slippery granular material. In case of the presence of any hazard, promptly remove or correct since any delay exposes people to danger. If possible, use only non-skip flooring. Aside from non-skid flooring have these areas clean frequently.

In a construction site, everyone has the responsibility to clean up spills as they occur. Spills are hazards so when they are found, clean it up immediately.

In jobsites, there will always be dangerous; some locations are prone to slipping hazards as these are places where oil, grease and other materials are likely to accumulate.

All personnel are obliged to report hazards to their supervisor, if one cannot do the job immediately. Wearing the right kind of footwear is one way to prevent an injury. Placing metal heel plates on heels of shoes and boots are dangerous when walking on rigid surfaces, such as wood or metal.

All walkways and other frequently used floor areas must be well-lighted. Replace any burnt out bulbs as visibility is an important measure in safety. Any kind of tripping hazards pose special problems. Take away objects on floors that present an obstacle to foot movement such as cables, ropes, tools, boxes, lumber, legs of equipment, and faulty flooring. The presence of these obstacles is a sign of poor housekeeping.

Adopt these tips to help prevent tripping hazards –

1. Provide adequate storage facilities to store items so they will not be scattered around, or stored improperly. Poor housekeeping is an indicator that tripping hazards will likely happen;

2. Improve housekeeping by cleaning properly and proper maintenance of equipment;

3. Keep cables, hoses, ropes and wires overhead instead of along the floor. Any items set on the floor, must be straight, flat and shielded or easily identified. Also use portable warning signs and blinker lights to attract attention to such tripping hazards.

4. Frequently inspect floor surfaces to include regular daily inspections of walkways and working areas.  Then correcting any deficiencies found during these inspections.

5. The sign of good housekeeping is a proper place for everything, such as tools, materials, portable equipment, waste, scrap and seeing to it that everything is kept in its proper place when not in use.

To reduce tripping hazards it is a rule that everyone must watch out for their steps. Although you are busy but you can always take time to watch out for yourself as no one can do it for you. Pay attention to surfaces that are un-level, holes, lumber, cables, cords and other hazards and take the necessary action to prevent a trip and fall.

Working above ground or floor level and working at or around ground or floor openings are the two most common situations involved. Working above ground could be a person overextending his reach on a ladder, causing the ladder to kick out sideways, causing a fall to the ground. Working at or around ground or floor openings could be a person falling down an elevator shaft or falling through a floor opening.

Proper procedures and caution when you’re working on ladders, platforms, scaffolding or on permanent structures –

1. Be sure the equipment that you are using is erected safely. For instance, ladders should be at the proper angle, with firm footing;

2. Avoid using defective equipment as ladders, structural members of wooden staging and etc. Inspect before you use the equipment;

3. Use only scaffolds that have guardrails to prevent falls;

4. Always be careful while at work as there may be tripping or slipping hazards on structures or flooring surfaces;

5. Safety belts or nets are best measures when working above ground, when not protected from falls by the use of guardrails; and

6. Place a guard on openings or a barricade where necessary to keep persons from falling through the opening. Place warning devices, such as signs or lights.

Experts have introduced hundreds of techniques, rules and procedures to reduce incidence of slips, trips and falls, but none of these are effective if each individual would not be wary of watching out for hazards and avoiding them. No slip, trip and fall will ever happen if you are careful; pay attention to where you are walking; exercise caution around floor openings;  maintain good housekeeping on the jobsite; and keep tools and equipment out of the way. If you utilize safe, serviceable equipment, such as ladders and scaffolding, and you position the ladders and scaffolding properly….there’s no slip, trip and fall.

Every individual is responsible for every one’s safety. The best equipment might be available but if each person doesn’t care for safety, then it is not any good. Consider the importance of safety of each person involved in the job. It is an essential for your welfare, the company and your family.

Link – http://www.workplacesafetyinstitute.com/Safety_articles/slips_trips_falls_in_construction.html

About admin

Joel J. Kofsky has been successfully representing personal injury cases since 1991. He has assisted victims of car accidents, bike accidents, and slip and fall accidents.
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