Autumn Slip, Trip & Fall Prevention Tips
No doubt, October is the month most recognized for the days growing shorter, leaves changing spectacular colors and the fragrance of wood smoke and pumpkin spice filling the air, but unfortunately, once those autumn leaves waft downwards, they add a more dangerous dimension to this time a year… maybe that’s why it’s also called Fall!
Donald Duvall, MDTA Construction Safety Auditor for AMG warns that once leaves start falling, especially combined with rain, roads and driveways get slippery both on the jobsite and the home front. “Mud can also be an issue,” he says, “This is the time we notice the crew cleaning mud from boots, ladders and other equipment to prevent possible slipping and falling.”
As a safety auditor, Don takes any potential for slipping and falling very seriously. Falling can result in anything from a sprained wrist, broken leg or other injury. “Sometimes people will try and take a short-cut by going off the usual path on the construction site, but you have to be careful going down slopes that have become slippery from fall weather.” For this reason, he cautions against taking any short cuts.
Frozen surfaces are another hazard that appears as the temperatures drop. People are on the job early in the morning before the sun has had a chance to warm up the asphalt. He’s witnessed such falls on the site that caused injuries. “Anytime it gets below freezing, you have to be careful of the black ice,” he warns. “Sometimes it’s nearly invisible.”
“Now is the time to start preparing for the rest of winter,” Don advises, “such as identifying hazards, making sure rock salt is readily available and everyone is wearing the correct footwear. It’s important to provide proper lighting, signage, good housekeeping protocols and slip-trip-fall training for the entire staff.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), slips and falls are the second major cause of death in the US. Slips, trips, and falls are also the second most common cause of injury at work and 20-30% of falls that occur in the workplace lead to moderate to severe injuries such as bruising, fractures or a concussion.
For more tips and information about fall prevention, visit Slips, Trips and falls: Protecting Your Employees from Preventable Injuries.