5 Tips to Prevent Fall Accidents

Contributor: CableSafe®

Globally, falls are contemplated to be the second leading cause of accidental deaths. Considering this crucial fact, slip, trip, and fall accidents call for global attention towards the utilization of effective prevention measures and strategies. Furthermore, fall prevention has been a substantial area of concern, owing to the fact that slip-and-fall accidents are one of the leading causes of injury at the workplace. As trip and fall prevention sustains to be a challenge itself, here are some simple tips to prevent falls and fall-related accidents.

1. Maintain Workplace and Remove Falling Hazards

Well-maintenance of the workplace and removal of slip, trip and fall hazards can be key factors to deter the frequency of fall accidents. Contaminants like water, oil, grease, food should be removed from the floor, and entry into wet areas must be prevented through signboards and barricades. Check that stair treads are slip-resistant; and install handrails, anti-slip mats, and fall protection equipment for workers. Fall protection includes Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as hard hats, fall protection harnesses, scaffolds, and guardrails.

2. Clear Out Clutter to Avoid Trip Hazard

An effective strategy for trip control is to keep walkways, corridors, and passageways clear of any obstructions and trip hazards. To eliminate clutter, storage areas can be organized and unnecessary equipment, boxes, stands, etc. should be withdrawn from hallways and staircases. Designating areas for waste collection and making clear the responsibilities for waste removal can assist in avoiding waste obstacles from worksites. Snow removal from parking and sidewalks of the workplace is counted as an effective tactic to abstain from slips, trips, and falls.

3. Control Individual Behavior

Training of personnel to avoid behavior that leads to higher fall accident risks is a noteworthy guideline of simple tips to prevent falls. Fall prevention training programs effectively dictate the significance of the safety of workers. Provision of training for new hires and regular onsite training can ensure the avoidance of any onsite hazard. While working with ladders, employees should know to maintain three points of contact and keep the ladder on a level surface. Workers should refrain from taking shortcuts through restricted areas and avoid leaving equipment at work areas for trip control.

4. Adequate Lighting at Workplace

To evade slip and trip hazards, adequate lighting is the most worthwhile point among tips to prevent accidents. Installation of bright lights in stairways, basements, construction areas, and dock areas can minimize the trip hazards to a greater extent. Besides, make sure that exterior walkaways and driveways are well lit.

5. Wearing Appropriate Footwear

The selection of proper footwear is imperative in the prevention of slip and trip hazards. For on-site workers, it is vital that they must have a firm grip on the ground, therefore slip-resistant shoes are crucial as they provide comprehensive protection and slip control. As many variations of slip-resistant footwear are available in market, management should choose the best-fit relative to its work domain.

Jacqueline "Jackie" Annis is an industrial hygienist with the Office of Partnerships and Recognition, Directorate of Cooperative and State Programs in OSHA’s National Office.  Jackie’s primary responsibilities include developing and overseeing internal policies and procedures for the VPP, reviewing VPP on-site evaluation reports for process safety management information, serving as the National Office liaison for two of OSHA’s ten Regions, and facilitating the management of OSHA’s National Strategic Partnership Program.  She is an integral part of OSHA’s National Office team. 

She has served with the Agency for 36 years, including five years as a senior industrial hygienist in OSHA’s Office of Health Enforcement, Directorate of Enforcement Programs in the National Office and 17 years as a compliance safety and health officer in the Denver, CO Area Office.  Prior to her tenure at OSHA, Jackie worked as an industrial hygienist for the Department of the Navy in Alameda, California.  Jackie obtained a Bachelor of Science degree from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA in 1983.

Wayne Howard earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from UC Davis and has spent 12 years with Shell (at Martinez) refinery, 3 years with the consulting firm Process Safety, 15 years with Valero (at Benicia), and the last 10 years in the Corporate Process Safety Department. He is the Valero representative to AFPM's Advancing Process Safety Initiative.

Nathan Obaugh, PE is a senior engineer in the Safety and Operational Excellence Group at NuStar Energy. Nathan has over 10 years of PSM and process design experience in the petrochemical, refining and midstream industries. At NuStar, Nathan oversees all elements of the corporate PSM program and works directly on hazard analysis, process safety studies, PSM/RMP audits and provides process engineering support to the operations and capital projects groups.

Jared Teter, PhD is a senior staff scientist with a background in physics and hazards analysis. He has extensive experience in subscale testing of energetic materials and has served as program manager for several large testing and risk management projects. He has applied engineering and risk management protocols while evaluating the risk associated with propellant and explosives manufacturing, combustible dust, and other hazardous material related processes.

Tim Belitz has a degree in Environmental Health/Industrial Hygiene from Old Dominion University and a Master’s from Duke University. He has over 25 years of Industrial Health Safety and Environmental Experience and is a Certified Safety Professional. He has many years focused on Contractor Management and Process Safety programs.

Rob Walker graduated from Virginia Tech in Microbiology and Chemical Engineering. Rob has almost 35 years of experience working in the chemical plant and refining industry. His passion for Process Safety and Mechanical Integrity began very early in his career. Rob began with his current company, Honeywell, back in 2011.

Prasad Joshi has B.S. and M.S. Degrees in Chemical Engineering from two universities in India. Prasad has over 30 years’ experience in the business. He began with Honeywell in May 2022 as Principal Maintenance Engineer. He has worked internationally in Asia and Europe.