RICHMOND, B.C. – WorkSafeBC is reminding workers how to prevent taking a dangerous tumble.
Officials noted that slips, trips, and falls put workers at risk of sprains, strains, bruises, concussions and fractures. In severe cases, falls can lead to death or permanent disability.
Almost 1,000 workers in the province’s manufacturing sector alone suffer fall injuries every year. Officials stated that this costs businesses about 49,000 lost workdays and more than $22 million in claim costs. Many of these incidents can be attributed to environmental and outdoor weather conditions, often during winter.
“Slips, trips and falls is the third-leading cause of injury in manufacturing,” said Megan Martin, Manager, Industry and Labour Services – Manufacturing for WorkSafeBC, in a press release. “Our safety bulletin is designed to help employers better understand how slips and trips happen, and the steps that can be taken to prevent them from happening.”
WorkSafeBC explained that the best way to prevent a fall injury is to identify all the potential slip and trip hazards in the workplace. This often includes parking lots, yards, and outdoor access areas. Here are some tips to identify and control hazards.
Martin advised inspecting the workplace early, implementing a workplace feedback system, analyzing data such as near-miss incidents and use a hierarchy of controls based on the greatest risk to guide improvements.
Employers also should note that according to Occupational Health and Safety Regulation, floors, platforms, ramps, stairs and walkways available for use by workers must be maintained in a state of good repair and kept free of slipping and tripping hazards.
In 2018, WorkSafeBC launched a three-year manufacturing high-risk strategy to assist employers in the sector in strengthening their safety management system by focusing on risk reduction. Officials have taken a two-pronged approach of conducting inspections and encouraging employer self-evaluations.
Part of the strategy’s focus in 2019 has been on preventing slips, trips, and falls. This year’s high-risk strategy for construction also boosted enforcement efforts for fall-protection systems used in the residential wood-frame construction industry.
WorkSafeBC’s high-risk strategies identify and target industries and employers with a high risk of serious workplace injury and a significant contribution to the serious-injury rate. High-risk strategies include four industry sectors: construction, forestry, health care and manufacturing.