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One Single Slip…One Giant Loss To Your Company

Posted on 10/4/11 9:30 AM

Theft is not the only cause of loss within an organization.  Workplace accidents and injuries can significantly impact the organization; mainly by the resulting time out of work of the associate.  Serious accidents may also incur legal costs, damage to merchandise, insurance premium increases, etc.

The most common accidents within the workplace are falls.  A fall can be caused by a number of circumstances.  Falls most often occur at ground level because of slippery surfaces caused by grease, water, or ice. Even on a sturdy, slip-resistant floor, a slight contamination from dust, water, grease or other liquid can make the surface slippery. Poor lighting and obstacles in aisles, walkways and on stairs can also contribute to slips, trips, and falls.

Slip and Fall resized 600Another common fall hazard is the unsafe or incorrect use of ladders. Climbing on chairs, boxes, or shelving to access higher levels is a very unsafe work practice that often leads to injury.

The consensus among safety professionals is that almost all accidents can be prevented. It's simply a matter of learning how to recognize hazards and making the effort to correct and/or avoid them.

Tips to Prevent Injuries

Good housekeeping is essential for a safe workplace, and also allows associates to function more effectively, productively and safely. Follow these good housekeeping rules:

  • Don’t leave items in aisles, on the floor or perched un-securely on a surface.

  • Clean up all spills immediately.

  • Don’t block sprinklers, fire exits, or fire extinguishers.

  • Put items in their assigned places immediately, rather than moving them from one stopping point to another.

  • Don’t leave box cutters or other sharp tools lying around.

  • Keep cords and wires off the floor.

  • Report loose or damaged flooring or other tripping hazards you can’t fix.

  • Dispose of all trash immediately in proper containers.

Back Injuries

Perhaps the most important area to emphasize about back safety on the job is lifting. Improper lifting is believed to account for up to half of all job-related back injuries.

Training in the proper lifting technique can go a long way toward keeping associates healthy. Make sure to follow these simple steps in safe lifting:

  • Stand close to the load with both feet firmly on the floor and spread at about shoulder width, with the toes pointing out.

  • Squat down, close to the load, keeping your back straight, bending at the knees.

  • Grip the load firmly with your hands, not just your fingers. Place your hands on diagonally opposite corners so that one hand pulls it toward you and one lifts.

  • Bring the load as close as possible to your body. Keep your weight centered over your feet, arms and elbows tucked in to your sides, and chin tucked in to your neck.

  • Then lift gradually and smoothly, letting your legs do the work. With the back still straight, lift head and shoulders first while the legs push the body up smoothly.

These are just few areas to evaluate when assessing risk within your organization.  It is important to perform detailed risk assessments on a regular basis, especially in every store location.  Regular risk assessment and implementing preventative measures will significantly reduce the potential for loss to your organization.

Written by Claire Gibbons, Director of Human Resources

Topics: training and awareness, policies and procedures