The National Safety Council (NSC) designated June as National Safety Month. Their aim is to reduce the leading causes of injury and death at work, on the road and in our homes and communities.
This year’s theme is No 1 Gets Hurt, and as part of this campaign, the NSC devised four weekly topics: Emergency Preparedness, Wellness, Falls and Driving. Earlier this month, my colleague, Donna McEntee addressed the issue of emergency preparation, and today I’d like to take some time to draw attention to the subject of falls.
Here in the UK, an estimated 609,000 workers were injured in non-fatal accidents in 2017. Slips, trips or falls account for 29% of these incidents, lifting or handling 22%. Within this first category, falls from a height are the most common cause of fatal injury, just under half of which occur in the construction industry.
So that’s the bad news.
The good news is we have made a lot of progress in this area, and currently, the UK consistently has one of the lowest standardised rates of fatal injury across the EU.
However, I believe there is always room for improvement and know that both employees and employers want to see this number continue to drop in the future.
The question is how do we accomplish this? With knowledge, preparation, and training in what to do, that’s how.
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website, slips and trips happen for many reasons, but the main cause is the obstruction of walkways. To prevent trips, they recommend taking the following three measures:
#1 Review walkways
Are walkways in the correct place? Are they used or available for use? What tasks are conducted on the walkway? Are the tasks preventing employees from seeing where they are going?
What’s the point of a walkway if it is not clear and free of wires or other obstructions? Do employees take steps to keep the walkways clear and remove anything on the path?
#3 Design and maintenance
Is the floor suitable for the environment, fitted correctly and maintained properly? Are the walkways wide enough and level? Are stairs suitable, are risers consistent, are nosings highlighted where necessary, and are usable handrails available?
This is just the beginning. Organisations will have guidelines and regulations unique to that industry, and these fundamental measures are just a starter.
Training can make a huge difference. I also think that to see real organisational change where a company establishes a compliance mindset, the training offered must be designed to engage and teach.
Skillsoft’s Compliance Solution is developed in partnership with industry-leading subject matter experts. We use the latest in brain science to ensure the content is transferred to the learner and the job. Our solution, which addresses over 500 risk topics, covers subjects from legal to workplace safety and includes the course UK Slips, Trips and Falls.
Andy Nickolls is the Director of Compliance Solutions at Skillsoft EMEA.