Everyone is aware by now of the legal requirement that employers must make every effort to keep employees safe at work. Thankfully employers recognise the need for effective training programs and making sure that correct Personal Protective Equipment is utilised wherever necessary, as well as ensuring workshop machinery is correctly guarded.
One thing which can often get overlooked though is floor safety. In factories, warehouses, offices and industrial kitchens across the land the issue of floor safety is ignored. This is so easy to do; after all nobody spends their working day scrutinizing the floor do they? And it is an issue which only comes to the fore when an accident occurs. According to the Health and Safety Executive’s own figures for 2014/15 slips, trips and falls accounted for 36% of employees’ injuries. Let’s look at some simple ways that you can avoid becoming a part of this statistic.
#1 – Remove Obstacles
This is the most obvious and simplest thing to do and yet it appears to be low priority in some workplaces. Workers should be made aware that it is everyone’s responsibility to move things off the floor area which shouldn’t be there. Tools which aren’t in use should be returned to storage. Discarded packaging like boxes and packing tape can be tripped over so these should be put in a bin immediately. If there is something that really must be kept on the floor then use a hazard sign to make people aware.
#2 – Keep It Clean
Regular cleaning and maintenance of floors is a must in any workplace but particularly in places where substances should as oil and grease are likely to be spilled, such as in a kitchen or a garage. Spills should be cleaned away immediately using an appropriate cleaning solution. Floors should be checked regularly, at least once daily, and cleaning records should be kept.
#3 – Organise Safe Areas
The best organised industrial workplaces use floor tape to designate which are safe walking areas for employees and visitors and which areas are off limits because of machinery and so on. Floor tape can also be used to direct traffic like fork lift trucks into appropriate lanes when working.
#4 – Use the Correct Flooring
Even with the most vigilant cleaning regime it is sometimes not possible to keep floors completely safe. When people and fork lift machinery for instance are coming in and out on wet days the floor is going to be wet much of the time. It’s a good idea to use floor mats in doorways and areas of high footfall to absorb mud, dirt and wetness thereby reducing the likelihood of slips and trips. Shock absorbent matting can be placed underneath machinery to prevent any movement and damage to the floor.
Floor safety is an essential part of overall workplace health and safety and it should never be neglected. And whilst it’s a good idea to appoint an employee to take charge of floor safety – with associated rewards perhaps – floor safety should be the concern of all, from management downwards.