Health care facilities see declines in slips, trips, and falls
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health collaborated with several organizations to design, implement, and evaluate a prevention program from 1996 to 2005. The result is a workbook that identifies and provides strategies to prevent the top 10 causes of slips, trips, and falls in health care settings.
Slip, Trip and Fall Prevention for Healthcare Workers is the result of research by NIOSH, BJC Health System, the Finnish Institute for Occupational Health, Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety, the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, the Veterans Health Administration, and the Washington University School of Medicine. It explains the hazards that contribute to the top slips, trips, and falls, shows where they are likely to occur, and provides recommendations to reduce or eliminate the hazard.
Slips, trips, and falls in hospitals accounted for 38.2 lost workday injuries per 10,000 employees in 2009 -- 90 percent greater than the average rate for all other private industries combined, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They are the second most common cause of lost workday injuries in hospitals, after overexertion.
Contaminants on the floor are the leading cause of slips, trips, and falls incidents in health care facilities, according to the book. "Water, grease and other fluids can make walking surfaces slippery. Well-documented housekeeping procedures, correct floor cleaning, proper usage of mats and signs, accessible clean-up materials, and slip-resistant shoes will help to minimize the risk of slipping."
The other top slips, trips, and falls hazards for health care facilities were:
- Poor drainage -- pipes and drains.
- Indoor walking surface irregularities.
- Outdoor walking surface irregularities.
- Weather conditions -- ice and snow.
- Inadequate lighting.
- Stairs and handrails.
- Stepstools and ladders.
- Tripping hazards -- clutter, loose cords, hoses, wires, and medical tubing.
- Improper use of floor mats and runners.
For each identified hazard, the workbook describes the hazard, discusses where it occurs most often, and provides detailed prevention strategies.It also includes a checklist to help identify different hazards in specific facilities.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum
January 27, 2011
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