Preventing slips, trips, and falls

Photo credit: Marcus Kesler on Flickr

Photo credit: Marcus Kesler on Flickr

Recently I wrote about truck drivers’ risk of falling from their own cabs. Shortly after, I asked a long haul driver if he had ever considered this problem – and he said no, but acknowledged the importance of it. He said his biggest concern is slipping on ice outside the cab, which has happened to him, though never resulting in a serious injury.

Prevention of Slips, Trips and Falls” – a hazard alert from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety – points out that “the majority (66%) of falls happen on the same level resulting from slips and trips.”

The best solution for this is good housekeeping such as marking/cleaning spills, mopping/sweeping debris, removing obstacles, securing mats/carpets, covering cables, and proper lighting. Appropriate flooring helps too – but that doesn’t help truck drivers, who can’t necessarily prepare for the ground outside.

Footwear is one good solution for this risk of slipping on ice. According to the OHS Guidelines Part 8 – Footwear the employer needs to look at the work assigned to each worker and determine the appropriate protection needed.

“To determine appropriate protection under section (1) the following factors must be considered: slipping, uneven terrain, abrasion, ankle protection and foot support, crushing potential, temperature extremes, corrosive substances, puncture hazards, electrical shock and any other recognizable hazard.”

A huge range of footwear is available today and I have seen lots of amazing gear at safety conferences over the years. Options are many for drivers – and anyone else who walks on icy surfaces – and I hope you explore yours.

Image from WorkSafeBC's Toolbox Meeing Guide: Maintain Three-point Contact with Mobile Equipment

Image from WorkSafeBC’s Toolbox Meeing Guide: Maintain Three-point Contact with Mobile Equipment

BC’s Shift Into Winter Campaign for safer driving says: “Wear sturdy shoes or boots that have good traction. Snow, ice and cold weather can make even the simplest task treacherous.

“Maintaining three points of contact when entering or exiting the cab will keep you on your feet, especially in winter when steps and the ground below may be icy.”

So step with care – and think about footwear if you need to buy a gift!


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