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Every Day Safety: Slips, Trips, and Falls

Just one of the articles from Pet Care Pro Quarterly, IBPSA’s digital magazine for pet care services professionals. Read the current issue online here.

by Ben Day – Ben Day Business Consultants

Do you know the second most common cause of non-fatal disabling injury in the workplace? It slides in just behind overexertion.

It’s slips, trips, and falls.

Of course you know your pet care premises inside and out ― where the carpet is frayed a bit or the sidewalk that has buckled over the years.  Save those initial months on earth when crawling was more your area expertise, you’ve been walking your entire life – you’ve got this walking thing down!

Maybe so, but it only takes one distracted phone-texting, coffee-sipping, newly washed out pothole misstep to break that walking streak – and maybe break you. It matters not your age or at what pace you walk, anyone can take a tumble at any time.  Granted, older folks tend to fall more often, but falling can also strike the young as well.

An ounce of prevention

The best way to cover everything is to have multiple sets of eyes to identify the areas of concern.  Maybe a Safety Committee or Safety Coordinator would be beneficial?  If you must, go ahead and add “checking the premises” to the endless list your Manager/Supervisor has to do each month.  Things they need to check or consider include:

  • Proper signage such as “Watch Your Step”
  • Tripping hazards such as telephone and computer cords across walkways
  • Frayed carpet
  • Clutter stacked in aisles
  • Nails sticking up in wooden floors
  • Proper lighting in all halls and stairwells
  • Uneven sidewalks
  • Potholes in the parking lot
  • Broken handrails
  • Wet surfaces

Slippery when wet

When it comes to wet surfaces, every employee should have “mop training” as part of job orientation.  If there is a spill or other wet issue, the first employee spotting it should win the honor of cleaning it up.  Also, we must follow the motto for our four-legged friends who just can’t hold it: “If It Drops Get a Mop.” There are no excuses for stepping over the incident while waiting for others to clean it up.  Proper drainage in the bathing area should always be maintained, and drains cleaned on a regular basis.  Mats that are anti-slip are good, as is proper footwear.

Step outside

The only real problems outside are the burning sun or cutting cold wind, right? Wrong. You might be enduring those issues while also trying to navigate the yard, sidewalk, or parking lot on foot with maybe a four-legged friend pulling you along.  As Fido heads toward the back fence past the old oak tree, watch for those exposed roots that could jump up and trip you. And don’t forget that hole you saw Fido dig last week to bury his snack. He probably forgot to cover it back up when he retrieved it yesterday.  Also, remember when you head to the car after working 12 hours, there is that uneven sidewalk the Safety Committee brought to the owner’s attention last month.

Heads up

Bottom-line? Watch your surroundings when you are walking. Talking, texting, corralling Fido, or even chewing on that large sandwich can distract you from the hazard up ahead. Walking is a job everyone should concentrate on or you may end up with an unanticipated injury you don’t want to endure. Let’s face it, if you are laid up too long and not working, your pay could be greatly reduced or stopped.  Is the “opportunity” to catch up on Judge Judy episodes and all your soap operas while lounging on the couch with the bad springs really worth it?

Remember…Safety First To Avoid the Worst!