North Carolina employees may not be aware that slip and fall accidents are the third largest cause of workplace injuries in the country. The U.S. Department of Labor claimed workplace accidents of this nature cost around $28,000. In addition, slip and fall accidents lead to 104 million wasted workdays, or around $36 billion in lost wages annually.
A slip and fall accident places a huge financial burden on both the employee and the employer. A workplace injury victim sustaining an injury in the scope of his or her duties may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim to recover costs to cover expenses, such as medical bills related to his or her injuries.
The National Safety Council offered a few suggestions for employees and employers alike as part of its “Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls Week” in honor of National Safety Month.
The council advises people to avoid keeping items on the floor. Instead, keeping items on shelves at waist level may be the best option.
Accidents often take place on sidewalks, parking lots, showers and food preparation areas. Employers should strive to maintain sidewalks and keep them free of debris. On surfaces where skidding is possible, either adhesive tape or paint should be used. Moisture absorbent mats with backing material placed in front of entrances can help prevent the mat from sliding.
All work areas, such as passageways, service areas and storerooms should be kept neat and orderly, with all cabinets closed. It is best not to string cables, wires and extension cords across a room. Rather, they should be coiled near walls to avoid accidents. Employers should also maintain steps and repair any loose or broken stairs.
Employers should also maintain light switches and repair them if they malfunction. A well-lit room may decrease the possibility of accidents.
Finally, employees can help themselves by wearing protective and appropriate shoes in the workplace.
Despite these efforts, accidents still take place in the workplace and a workers’ compensation claim may be the solution required for an employee to receive compensation for the care of injuries and related expenses.
Source: Coast River Business Journal, “5 tips to prevent slips, trips and falls at work and home,” June 19, 2012