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New ways to think about slip and fall prevention

You want to stay safe on the job, and your employer wants the same, because in the long run, it is better for everyone. One of the hazards of the workplace is a slip-and-fall injury. These types of injuries can have serious health consequences ranging from broken bones to brain injuries and more.

For an employer, a safer workplace means a better bottom line. As the workforce ages, the consequences of unsafe environments are greater. Older employees are more likely to seriously harm themselves when they fall, they and are less likely to be able to walk it off and get right back to production. New approaches for safety may prevent this unfortunate outcome.

Old ways of thinking about slip-and-falls

Standard, tried-and-true methods for coping with falls exist. These methods typically place the responsibility for the injury back on the injured person, no matter whether that is a realistic assumption or not. These methods include signage, shoes and awareness.

Signage is useful for fall prevention, as long as it is a short-term solution. An everyday sign blends into the background for workers and has less of an impact the longer it is there. A sign warning of a fall danger is good for a little while, but for longer-term issues, an employer should look to something else.

Shoes are another way to put responsibility back onto the worker. Anti-slip shoes are good but not infallible. They simply reduce the probability of falls. And how do you know exactly when the soles will need replacement? Whose responsibility is it to enforce shoe replacement?

Finally, one can argue that the person should just be aware of the surroundings. Experts argue that awareness is constantly shifting, and that one cannot always depend on a person to pay attention to walking when it is usually an unconscious activity. Employers must seek out better solutions.

New paradigms for prevention

The methods listed above can be effective, and they are simple answers. Sometimes, the more difficult approach is to look at ways of mistake-proofing the environment in the first place by going deeper. An employer can prevent more injuries on-the-job by correcting the cause of the hazard instead of simply alerting the worker to the hazard. This can mean installing ramps instead of steps, or it can mean that a business builds barriers to prevent hazards from reaching walkways in the first place.

If you suffered an injury

If you have been hurt on the job, you may be wondering what to do. Workers' compensation insurance is available to provide income and assistance with medical bills while you are injured. Your employer has a duty to maintain a safe working environment for employees, and if the employer has neglected that duty, you may want to consult an attorney regarding possible next steps.

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