Are you covered for the five main causes of injury on a construction site?
The five main causes of injury in the commercial construction industry are:
- Falls from height
- Falls on the same level
- Being hit by moving objects
- Being hit by falling objects
- Electric shock
To avoid the second cause of injury – falls on the same level, usually due to slips, trips and falls – be aware of the following:
Slips happen where there is too little friction or traction between the footwear and the walking surface. Common causes of slips are:
- Wet or oily surfaces
- Occasional spills
- Weather hazards
- Loose, unanchored rugs or mats
- Flooring or other walking surfaces that do not have same degree of traction in all areas
Trips happen when a foot collides with an object, causing a loss of balance and, eventual fall. Common causes of tripping are:
- Obstructed view
- Poor lighting
- Clutter and obstructions
- Loose or rucked-up carpeting
- Uncovered cables
- Bottom drawers not being closed
- Uneven steps or walking surfaces
Slips and trips result from an unintended or unexpected change in the contact between the feet and the ground or walking surface. So good housekeeping, quality of walking surfaces and flooring, selection of proper footwear, and appropriate walking pace are critical for preventing fall accidents.
This is the first and most fundamental step in preventing fall accidents. It includes cleaning all spills immediately, and marking spills and wet areas. Keep walkways free of obstacles or clutter, and ensure any carpets or rugs are secured. Ensure cabinet or storage drawers are shut, cover cables that cross walkways, and keep working areas and walkways well lit. Burnt out light bulbs and faulty light switches ought to be replaced immediately.
Changing or modifying walking surfaces is the next way to prevent slip and trip hazards. Recoating or replacing floors, installing mats, pressure-sensitive abrasive strips or abrasive-filled paint-on coating and metal or synthetic decking can improve safety and reduce risk of falling. Resilient, non-slippery flooring prevents or reduces foot fatigue and contributes to slip prevention measures.
It is important to remember that high-tech flooring requires good housekeeping as much as any other flooring.
Where floors may be oily or wet, or where workers spend considerable time outdoors, prevention of fall accidents should focus on selecting proper footwear.
There is no footwear with anti-slip properties for every condition, so consultation with manufacturers is recommended. Properly fitting footwear increases comfort and prevents fatigue which, in turn, improves safety for the employee.