Slips and falls have the potential to result in serious injuries in the workplace, and they can be a hazard no matter how well maintained your office is. Think water shaken off umbrellas in wet weather, a box of files accidently left in a pedestrian walkway, or even a spilled cup of tea.
So which areas of your office pose a risk of slips?
When floors get wet
While we often connect wet floors to after-hours cleaning, there are lots of ways that water can affect floors during office hours, posing a risk of slips.
- Accidental spills of drinks.
- Drips from air-conditioning ducts.
- Wet weather nuisances like leaking roofs, waterlogged shoes and dripping umbrellas.
Inappropriate floor surfaces
The wrong cleaning method or poor choice of flooring can create a hazard as well. A too highly polished floor could mean a slip and a sprained ankle or even a back injury. Poorly fitted joins between different types of flooring, such as carpet and tiles, can also result in someone tripping or stumbling.
Worn floor coverings
When carpets fray or vinyls tear, they create a hazard. Cracked or loose tiles and holes in cement floors can also trip someone up.
Poorly lit areas
Poor lighting, particularly in areas like stairways, can be a safety risk. Shadows can hide obstructions and potential hazards such as puddles.
Safety on the stairs
While poor lighting can cause slips, trips and falls on stairs, other factors can make stairs dangerous. These include:
- Handrails positioned at an inappropriate height.
- Steep angles.
- Short or irregular steps.
- No grip or adequate nosing.
- Surprise steps.
Ramping up safety
Similar to stairs, ramps require well-designed lighting. While ramps allow easy access to rooms and office buildings, an incorrect slope and lack of adequate resistance can also make a ramp slippery.
Low obstacles in pedestrian paths
If someone is looking ahead or having a conversation while walking, it can be easy to miss hurdles on the floor. Floor hazards can include:
- Workers’ bags.
- Archive boxes.
- Power extension cords.
- Computer cables.
- Delivered goods such as stationery and marketing material.
Accidents can occur in any work environment
Slips, trips and falls accounted for 23% of claims in 2016, so don’t let your office become a Safe Work Australia statistic.
Keep your flooring in good condition and make sure your staff are trained to mop up spills quickly, and are aware of the risks posed by leaving obstructions in pedestrian walkways.
A professional slip test can also assist you by assessing the safety of your office flooring, and providing solutions to any problem areas.