Spills of liquid and granular material appear to be a major contributing factor to injuries in the workplace. And while mopping up after a spill is something we should have learned from our mothers, it warrants regular reminders for workers on-the-job. To play it safe, be sure to thoroughly clean-up to avoid injuries caused by spills.
According to the Georgia Department of Administrative Services, over 1 million people suffer from injuries caused by slips, trips and falls throughout the nation each year. It’s the number one preventable accident in the workplace. And a significant cause of falls is wet or oily surfaces.
A good rule of thumb in the workplace is to review all potential spill hazards.
- Identify and map-out water sources including washing stations, showers, toilets and outdoor faucets. Establish a system of routine maintenance for each source including replacing seals and valves regularly and checking pipes for rust and wear.
- Identify and routinely check areas where granular and powder substances are stored.
- Look at all potential risks for water leakage including things such as hanging flower baskets.
- Use molded or contoured pallets for liquid containers.
- Display and store liquids so any spills are not likely to get onto walkways.
- Don’t store liquid too close to the front of a shelf; or hanging over a shelf.
- Store liquid containers in an upright position.
- Use a mat to cushion any falling glass containers and reduce breakage.
- Viscous liquid spills are particularly hazardous. Dilute viscous liquids when possible.
- In retail environments, provide containers for customers to carry their good.
- In outdoor environments, control muddy areas by adding fill or mulch.
- If a spill is large or cannot be cleaned up right away, cordon off the area so the danger is clearly highlighted.
- Use floor mats in locations where liquid accumulates, such as produce and seafood sections in grocery stores.
- Provide drains in areas where spills are a frequent occurrence.
- Hang mops and other wet equipment over buckets so spills do not go onto the floor.
- Do the job right: A half-baked cleaning effort– further spreading the wet area into a thin film–may pose a greater spill risk than if was left untouched.
- Use hand-held wet/dry vacuums and squeegees for wet clean-ups when possible.
- Always use absorbent material to wipe up spills such as cotton or a composite material that is designed for absorbing liquid.
Additionally, it is important to enforce the stipulation of slip-resistant shoes for employees in certain positions.
In short, no one wants to be looking back after an injury to determine how it could have been prevented. Think ahead and start with the obvious- Mop Up those spills!
Ramos & Law has been partnering with injured workers for a decade, recovering millions of dollars for people in-need, and we are happy to share what we have learned about workplace injury. For questions about workers’ compensation and an on-the-job injury, call us for a free consultation.