Slips and falls can be prevented by eliminating access, housekeeping, and improved traction; although the first two instances are difficult measures to accomplish.
Annually, accidents caused by falls from height and from the same-level are costly. They are often more threatening in winter. OSHA and other safety authorities are always issuing reminders about these hazards and giving out best practice tips including efficient housekeeping and improved lighting.
OSHA reported some instances where workers fell as they were removing snow or ice from top roofs or decks. These workers stand on dangerously high surfaces to clean the area or at times, they are using aerial lifts. Many of these workers have no or little experience or training on this type of hazardous operations or work. According to the agency, these tasks are positive risks of falling over roof edges, through skylights, and from ladders and aerial lifts.
Winter Walking, a Jordan David company, located in Horsham, Pa., is over concerned about same-level falls in winter. Its executive vice president of sales and product development, Jordan Bell, believed that the function of safety managers is to prepare for the appearances of ice and snow before the arrival of the first cold winds of the season. Bell said that spring and summer do not need as much preparation.
A slip and fall happen when shoe and the surface do not have enough traction. Three ways to prevent accidents from happening: eliminate access to dangerous walking surface, improve the walking surface through housekeeping, or wear shoes with traction under your foot.
Eliminating access and housekeeping, the two possibilities, are not within the worker’s power as in most cases for utility workers as they are called out to repair a downed power line during a winter storm.
Bell said that removing the ice may not be possible and improving the housekeeping is hardly possible for employees who do not own the property. The only thing that each one can improve is wearing an appropriate traction on your feet.
The National Safety Council’s Injury Facts 2009 edition calculated the average cost of a lost-time injury to about $43,000. In his book, Falls Aren’t Funny: America’s Multi-Billion-Dollar Slip-and-Fall Crisis, J. Kendzior estimated that unintentional slips, trips, and falls in the United States cost nearly $80 billion a year.
Bell said that s and falls are ranked among the highest in the list of things that cause those injuries. OSHA does not issue standard for traction footwear as there is really no absolute standard. The problem is that there are so many variables with the walking surfaces. The only option for safety managers is to plan ahead on how they will be able to address winter slip and fall hazards. They also need to understand there is no one solution capable of facing all these problems, said Bell.
According to OSHA, workers engaged in snow removal must learn to face these significant hazards in addition to falls:
1. Amputations, eye injuries, and other injuries associated with the use of snow blowers and other mechanized equipment
2. Collapses or tip-overs when using aerial lifts
3. Entrapment and suffocation under falling snow drifts or snow piles
4. Shock/electrocution hazards from contacting power lines or damaged extension cords
5. Frostbite or hypothermia
If you or a loved has suffered due to negligence you may wish to consult with experienced Injury Lawyer. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Please note strict deadline apply and it is in your best interest to contact an attorney immediately.