Broad-scale slip, fall prevention program can reduce injury claims
The 10-year research project was a collaborative effort between the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health's Division of Safety Research, BJC Healthcare, the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety, and the Washington University School of Medicine. The project was recently presented with the 2009 Liberty Mutual Award, sponsored by the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety and The Ergonomics Society.
For the study, researchers designed, implemented and evaluated a comprehensive slip, trip and fall prevention program for employees in three acute care hospitals. The researchers examined the injury experience of hospital employees for 10 years, before and after implementation of the program.
The comprehensive prevention program included analysis of injury records to identify common causes of slips, trips and falls; on-site hazard assessments; changes to housekeeping procedures and products; introduction of slip, trip and fall preventive products and procedures; general awareness campaigns; programs for external ice and snow removal; flooring changes; and slip-resistant footwear for certain employee subgroups. The hospitals' total slip, trip and fall workers' compensation claims rate declined by 59 percent after the intervention.
To prevent these injuries, employers can:
- Maintain good housekeeping practices. Clean up any spills or leaks as soon as possible.
- Provide gratings, mats and raised platforms. This is critical for work involving wet processes.
- Encourage employees to wear slip-resistant footwear.
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November 19, 2009
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