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Avoid Slip and Fall Cases:
How to Stay Safe When Working in Slippery Conditions

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According to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI), slips and falls account for more than one million hospital emergency room visits each year. They're also the leading cause of worker's compensation claims.

As an employee, do you know how to protect yourself when working in or around slippery conditions? Knowing the right protocols to follow is the key to staying safe.

Today, we're sharing a few of the basic guidelines to keep in mind at work. With these tips, you can avoid a slip and fall accident and protect yourself, as well as others around you.

Step 1: Understand Why They Happen

Before we dive into our workplace safety tips, it's important to understand the underlying causes that can lead to a slip and fall injury. While it might seem simple, there are a few different mechanisms at work.

First, let's talk about slips. These occur when there isn't enough friction or traction between your feet and the walking surface.

Sometimes, the wrong type of footwear can cause you to slip even when there isn't any type of obstacle present. However, there are certain floor conditions that can make the walking surface more slippery. These include:

  • Wet surfaces
  • Oily surfaces
  • Weather conditions (e.g. rain or snow)
  • Floor spills
  • Loose floor coverings (e.g. rugs or mats)

Next, let's cover falls. These can occur when your foot or body strikes an object that knocks you off balance. As a result, you fall from one height to a lower one. Some of the most common conditions that can lead to a fall include:

  • Inadequate lighting
  • Obstructed views
  • Clutter or misplaced items
  • Drawers or obstructions sticking out
  • Uneven walking surfaces

When you know the specific hazards to look out for, you can take the proper precautions and avoid a slip and fall claim down the road. If you do find yourself the victim of a work-related injury, you can take your personal injury case to an experienced lawyer, who can fight for the compensation you deserve.

2. Ensure Proper Cleaning Protocols

Wondering how to stay safe at work? Employees can prevent many accidents by committing to keep their workplace clean. Even if you have a designated cleaning crew that comes in at the end of each day, you may need to take action immediately if you encounter a spill or similar obstruction.

If possible, clean up all spills as soon as they occur, following the steps outlined in your employee safety handbook. If the spill is too widespread to tackle on your own, then mark it, along with any nearby wet areas. This way, employees will know to stay out of that zone until the mess has been cleared.

In addition to wet surfaces, the same theory applies to dry spills. If there is debris on any walking surface, it can cause someone to slip and fall. Vacuum, mop, or sweep it up if possible. Walkways should always be clear of clutter, and workers should be able to navigate smoothly to any workspace.

3. Upgrade Lighting

Dim lighting can also cause someone to lose their balance and slip. If they can't see where they're going, they could make a wrong move that turns into an injury.

That's why one of our top workplace safety tips is to take an honest analysis of your current lighting setup. Take note of any burned-out bulbs and replace them immediately. You may also find that you need to upgrade the wattage on your current lights to make them brighter.

There are certain guidelines that employers must follow to ensure their lighting systems are compliant with industry standards. As you're checking the setup, take the time to try out all of your light switches to make sure they work. If you encounter any issues, call an electrician to correct them.

4. Wear the Right Footwear

If you anticipate working in slippery conditions, then make sure you're wearing shoes that have plenty of grip and traction. In some industries (such as meteorology), you can't avoid working in wet areas altogether, so you'll need to take precautions as you suit up in the morning.

There isn't a certain brand of shoe that will give you excellent traction in every condition. What works for a weather reporter might not work for someone in a warehouse. Talk to your employer about the type of shoes they recommend, and consult manufacturers to learn more about the specific anti-slip qualities built into their footwear.

Once you have a pair you like, make sure they fit well. You could have the grippiest shoes on the market, but they could still cause you to trip and fall if they're so big they fly off your feet. At the same time, shoes that are too tight could cause you to walk differently, which also puts you at risk of falling.

5. Don't Rush

Wondering how to stay safe while working in slippery conditions? Sometimes, the answer is as simple as slowing down. If you start to feel like you're losing your footing, change your stride to a comfortable, relaxed pace and turn your feet slightly outward for extra stability.

There's no deadline worth injuring yourself over, so take your time and look where you're going. It's also smart to avoid distractions so you can focus intently on the task at hand. This means don't check your phone or engage in an in-depth conversation while you walk, and keep your eyes ahead of you.

Avoid a Slip and Fall Injury at Work

Even if you work in a slippery location, you can still protect yourself on the job. A slip and fall case can result in a lengthy recovery process and you deserve to stay safe.

Your employer should already have cleaning protocols in place to keep your office clean. They should also be able to recommend the right footwear to use. If you have questions, speak to your HR manager for job-specific safety advice.

In the meantime, we'll keep you updated on everything you need to succeed at work and home. Check out our Workplace section for more inspiration!

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