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Slips, trips, and falls also known as STFs, are some of the leading causes of injury in the workplace. In the United States, nearly 50,000 people are injured and almost 600 more are killed in fall-related incidents at work. These injuries result in lost productivity, pain & suffering, lawsuits, and increase healthcare and insurance costs. To help reduce your risk of STFs on the job, follow these safety tips:
Inside the Workplace:
- Keep hallways and corridors clear of obstacles and clutter
- Never place any objects in front of emergency exits, especially furniture
- Install handrails on both sides of all stairwells
- Keep cords, wiring, and cables clear of walkways
- Perform routine inspections to identify any dangerous conditions, repair any hazards immediately, and record the details of any incidents that take place
- Place wet floor signs on wet surfaces (entryways after snowstorms, freshly mopped floors, spill areas, etc.)
- Remove debris and objects such as loose papers, books, boxes, etc. from floors, walkways, and stairs
- Use non-skid rubber mats to keep rugs from slipping
- Do not place furniture within walking routes
- Use child safety gates at the tops and bottoms of staircases to prevent children from falling down the stairs
- Only use ladders on a solid, dry, and even surface
- Always face the ladder when climbing up or down
- Maintain three points of contact at all times (e.g.: Two feet, one hand/one foot, two hands)
- Never lean or over reach over the sides of the ladder – reposition the ladder if necessary
- Use tool belts – do not climb with tools in hand
- Do not use ladders outside in windy or rainy conditions
- Do not use chairs, tables, cabinets, etc. as ladders
- Keep in mind the weight limit and use duty for each ladder
- Repair cracked or split walking surfaces immediately
- Make sure parking lots, walkways, and doorways are adequately lit
- Point downspouts away from walking surfaces
- Keep walkways/driveways/parking lots clear of snow and ice
- Clearly mark steps, gaps, ledges, and other hazards
- Ensure all steps have handrails, and all ledges have railings
Taking these steps can help reduce or prevent slips, trips, and falls from occurring at your workplace and reduce the chances of injuries and costly lawsuits.
“Slips, Trips and Falls.” National Safety Council. National Safety Council, 2016. Web. 27 Feb. 2017. http://www.nsc.org/NSCDocuments_Advocacy/Fact%20Sheets/Slips-Trips-and-Falls.pdf.
As you’re researching contractors for work on your home or business, it is important to remember the lowest bid may not be the best bid. Here are 10 questions to ask a potential contractor before you sign an agreement:
- Are you licensed and insured with liability insurance? (A qualified contractor should carry liability and workers’ compensation insurance to protect you and them in the event of a roofing accident.)
- Are all the workers who will be working on my roof covered under your liability insurance?
- What type of shingles and which ice and water shield manufacturer do you recommend and why?
- Are you licensed by the roofing manufacturer you are recommending? Is your license active and current? (This is important for warranties and to ensure that the materials will be properly installed.)
- What is your warranty on your work? (This is in addition to the manufacturer’s warranty.)
- Would you be pulling the necessary permit?
- Will you be onsite with your crew to ensure the work is being done properly?
- Can you provide me with at least three references?
- How will you prepare my house and the surrounding plantings to protect them?
- What is your clean-up and disposal procedure?
To understand some of the answers behind these questions and why they are important, read “Prepare Your Roof for Winter.”