Falling for Safety in the Workplace

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Factory cat floor sweepers

Everyone can appreciate a clean work environment or living space. Not everyone excels at achieving or maintaining such a clean area, but it is worth at least acknowledging. And while many people are just fine with a bit of mess or clutter at home, it is probably best for everyone involved if employees all contribute to a clean work space. Not only is it a matter of respect for your employer and fellow employees, but it is most often a matter of safety and wellness as well. Clutter in a common area can be annoying, but ignoring dirt or clutter to the point that it becomes a hazard is just plain reckless.

When a little dirt could hurt someone
For the most part, a little dirt doesn’t hurt. But think about it in the sense of a busy work environment, where people are rushing around to complete tasks. Just a bit of dirt or spilled liquid that someone failed to take care of, in the wrong spot could send someone tumbling to a painful fall. That is why there is often times a full time maintenance worker or janitor on staff, but people should pitch in and take responsibilities for their own messes, and even clean up a mess they did not make, if they happen to notice it and if they have time to take care of it. It is common sense and common decency to your fellow man. Maybe not every employee has access to the sweepers or floor scrubbers, but there are always ways to help out, even if it’s pointing out potential hazards to others until it is taken care of. Yes, it is often humorous to see someone take a spill, but only if no one is getting hurt.

Why the floor scrubber could be a life saver
Employees are typically briefed on safety protocols when they are first hired, but unfortunately, it is too easy to ditch the safety precautions as they become more familiar with the job. At one recent American Society of Safety Engineers convention, a question was posed: had employees seen other workers not wearing safety equipment like eye protection or non-slip shoes on the job? A staggering 98% of those who responded claimed that they had indeed witnessed such carelessness. While most people are not intentionally being negligent or reckless, such safety measures are put in place for very good reasons. Say someone has decided against wearing non-slip shoes, and the floor scrubber hasn’t been by yet, factors that could lead to a harmful fall. Slipping, tripping, and falling has accounted for around 25% of injury claims that are reported per each fiscal year. Such injuries result in over 95 million total days of work lost every year. And perhaps most sobering to think about: the U.S. Department of Labor states that slips, falls, and trips account for the majority of accidents in general industry, and those total about 15% of all accidental deaths each year. That is the second leading cause of accidental deaths, beat only by deaths caused by motor vehicle accidents.

Sometimes it is hard not to laugh when someone falls, especially if you are the one doing the tumbling. But it is important to keep in mind that the wrong fall could end horribly, and it is always better to be safe than sorry.

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