In the workplace, there are specific areas that are notorious for having the highest rates of injury from slips, trips, and falls. These include the following:
- Walkways with high contaminant levels and wet areas;
- Stairs, steps, and ramps;
- Foyers and exterior entrances;
- Edges in between areas; and
- Areas utilised by workers who have an increased risk of injury due to their age, reduced mobility, and overall health.
As a business owner/employer, it is extremely vital that you address these high-risk areas to ensure the safety of your workers.
Implementing Safety Measures
The following are specific design features proven to reduce the risk of slips, trips, and falls according to Australian Standards 1428 and 1657:
- Industrial stairs and steps – Industrial steps must have consistent height and size for optimal security, and step nosings, which are the front section of the steps of the leading edge, must be non-slip and clear. Rails should have adequate hand clearance, be continuous, and have appropriate height and design. They should likewise be parallel to the floor surface or ground.
- Ramps – Ramps must have starting and finishing points that are clearly marked, have a gentle slope, and a continuous handrail with adequate hand clearance. They must also be equipped with a kick board or board if applicable and suited for potential users, such as those in a wheelchair.
- Flooring – In general, ground and flooring surfaces should be appropriate to the work area where it’s installed. Pay close attention to high-risk areas such as wet floors and those that are usually exposed to various contaminants.
Other Crucial Design Considerations
Various studies have also determined that these extra and simple design features would further reduce the risk of slips, trips, and falls in the workplace:
- Recessed structural hazards, including sliding door frames, shower door frames and hobs;
- Workstations that are perfectly suitable for the tasks at hand;
- Streamlined and logical work flows to minimise slip, trip, and fall hazards;
- Ample storage for workers to ensure that the working areas and floors are always free of clutter.
Most importantly, it’s immensely important that you educate your workers and regularly inspect the workplace to ensure that all safety measures are in place, well maintained, and are working perfectly.