Per a recent review of the retail stores in the AAGR, slips, trips and falls are the most expensive cause of work comp claims. Slips, trips and falls (STFs) can cause back injuries, sprains, strains, bruises, fractures, paralysis or even death.
Retail workers have a higher rate of slips than general industry, and employee's in grocery stores and where meat is handled are at an even higher risk, with a 75% greater than average industry rate.
The Top 10 Slip, Trip and Fall Hazards are (from NIOSH):
- Contaminants on the Floor (grease, water, etc.)
- 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, etc.
- Improper Use of Floor Mats and Runners
- Poor Drainage: Pipes and Drains
What to Learn? Tips offered by NIOSH include:
- Ensure aisles are free of clutter and other tripping hazards.
- In grocery stores, ensure that water from produce spray misters is directed onto produce, and is not spraying onto the floor.
- In grocery stores, provide customers with plastic bags and paper towels for wet produce to prevent it from dripping water onto the floor.
- Provide clean up supplies (paper towels, absorbent material, "wet floor" signs, etc) at convenient locations in the facility.
- Mats should be used to provide slip-resistant walking surfaces by absorbing liquid and removing dirt, debris, and liquid from shoes. Provide water-absorbent mats near entrances and other areas where water, ice, or snow may drip or be tracked onto the floor. Mats should be large enough so that several footsteps fall on the mat and clean contaminants off the shoes.
- Train employees on identifying and preventing slip, trip and fall hazards.
Employees can help by taking the following precautions:
- Push (rather than pull) carts to allow a better line of sight.
- Walk with caution and make wide turns at corners.
- Clean surfaces as soon as they become wet.
- Place warning signs in wet floor areas and remove them when floor is clean and dry.
- Slip-resistant shoes are an important component of a comprehensive STF prevention program. Staff that work on wet or contaminated walking surfaces should wear slip-resistant shoes.
- Clean floors and work surfaces as soon as they become wet.
- Inspect refrigerated and freezer cases for water leakage onto the floor surfaces; place absorbent strips and water-absorbent mats on the floor until the unit is repaired.
- Place warning signs in wet floor areas and remove them promptly when the floor is clean and dry.
- Use no-skid waxes in slippery areas, and use soap that does not leave slippery residue.
- Clean only one side of a passageway at a time to allow room for passing.
- Keep passageways clear at all times, and mark permanent aisles and passageways.