The CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and our own state’s Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation joined forces to develop some really cool interactive charts. They show worker injury trends in Ohio over a 10-year span. It’s no surprise that the Diagnosis by Cause chart has Slips, Trips, and Falls in a category all by itself. Click on the Number of Claims (285,592!) to see the resulting diagnoses.
Troy Weber’s phone rang in the early morning hours. When he saw the caller ID, his heart began to pound. After three years as Fleet Manager, he knew what the message would be: another injury, most likely to a driver. He hoped he was wrong or at least that it was not serious, but his mind was already racing over how he’d be able to manage the routes with a driver down.
It seemed like the accidents, especially the slips-and-falls, should be preventable, but extra training on ‘three points of contact’ had not solved the problem. Even adding grab-handles to the cab seemed like a good idea, but that had actually added arm and shoulder injuries to some of the slip-and-fall cases. He had to stop drivers from getting hurt on the job.
Joe, a long-time employee, had gotten hurt. His foot slipped exiting the cab and he twisted his ankle hard enough to tear a ligament. He would be out of work for a minimum of three months. Troy felt terrible because Joe was a hard worker who always followed safety precautions.
A common occurrence
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, “truck drivers have the highest number of nonfatal injuries and illnesses that require days off from work across all occupations (a total of 55,710 injuries in 2014). In fact, tractor-trailer truck drivers are three times more likely than the typical American worker to have an injury or illness that requires days off from work. The injuries that are most likely to cause them to miss work result from slips, trips and falls.”1
A closer look
A closer look at the fleet’s truck steps showed extremely steep metal steps that are difficult for even the most fit drivers to navigate. They are perforated to allow for water and ice to pass through. But the serrated steel had worn down since the drivers may enter and exit the trucks up to fifty times a day. Worse, this type of step had no slip-resistant material at the leading edge of the step, where slips most often occur. The foot of a driver descending the steps would hit that edge and, without any added traction on the radius, would slip.
Eliminate the hazard
Troy knew that the most effective controls involve elimination of the hazards. Luckily, he figured out that an anti-slip surface bonded to the truck steps could prevent this particular type of injury in the future. Better still, he discovered a similar solution could apply to ladders, running boards, and ramps – most any surface that becomes slippery and likely to cause slips-and-falls.
Government statistics show that truck drivers are especially prone to slip-and-fall injuries. After Troy consulted with Erick Schuetz at Safeguard Technology, he confidently set a plan in motion to protect his drivers.
Read the statistics on trucker injuries for yourself– and take steps to prevent injuries on your own vehicles.
Slip-and-fall prevention begins at the design phase
Parking garages exist to make the best use of available space and to protect users from outdoor elements. Especially in cold climates like the northern US, a parking structure should allow people to avoid ice and snow in the winter months while walking from their cars to their destination.
The problem with these structures is that most have an open-sided design that allows snow and rain to get inside and collect on walkways and stairs, leading to a risky situation for slip-and-fall accidents. But a well-informed architect can easily design buildings with better safety results right from the start.
Battling the Elements
Riverside Parking Ramp was designed by the architects at HSR Associates, Inc. in La Crosse, WI. The specification called for checkered plate steel steps and landings. Since checkered plate steel has a very low Coefficient of Friction (COF)*, especially in harsh weather, the designer knew that anti-slip treatment would be needed to protect users of the garage from slips-and-falls. Safeguard® Hi-Traction® anti-slip direct gritting was the perfect solution.
A Better Way
Coatings applied on-site typically use sand to provide traction but this wears off quickly. Repeated applications are needed and this means downtime for the facility. Safeguard’s proprietary antislip surface uses fused alumina, one of the hardest substances around. This creates hard, sharp edges that grip footwear and last for a very long time.
In order to be sure that Safeguard’s antislip surface provides a long term solution, it is applied in a controlled environment. For the initial construction of the Riverside building, 256 pieces of steel – steps and landings – were sent to Streetsboro, Ohio for direct gritting. The team at Safeguard was able to receive the large, heavy pieces and manipulate them in the factory to apply the coating.
The architect specified that a 3-inch-wide, non-slip area with aluminum oxide (fused alumina) grit be bonded to the nosing of the stair treads. The grit was specified to be #24 mesh, suitable for commercial and pedestrian applications and to be applied to a minimum thickness of .10 inches. The color was to be contrasting to tread, selected by A/E from the standard line. Most importantly, the spec said the product must be comparable to Direct Gritting from Safeguard Technology as on www.safeguard-technology.com.
The second phase of the Riverside Parking Ramp added two stories above the existing building and again Safeguard was contacted to make sure that the steps and landings had the dependable anti-slip that the architect had in mind. Another new parking garage was completed in 2017 with 220 steel plates coated.
Strong specifications ensure that architects and designers get the quality needed for their projects to be successful. Collaboration between designers, contractors, and manufacturers ensures that parts have their intended form, function, and safety. Facility owners can rest assured that they are running a safe operation. Manufacturers breathe easy knowing their products are as safe as possible.
Not all surfaces are optimal for direct gritting. To find out if Safeguard’s Direct Gritting is a solution for the anti-slip safety of your product, call 800-989-1695 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Coefficient of friction (COF) is a value that shows the force of friction between two objects, in this case, the floor/steps and the people’s footwear. A low number means very little friction, so slips-and-falls are very likely.
ABS, the American Club and Lamar University join to stop slips-and-falls
What a great initiative! Let’s work together to keep mariners safe.
Joint Initiative Tackles Common Causes of Maritime Accidents
ABS, the American Club and Lamar University are launching a new initiative aimed at reducing maritime-related safety incidents. The initial focus of the partnership’s analysis and industry guidance will be on slips, trips and falls, a significant cause of maritime injuries. Read the full article.
So many aspects of ladder safety to focus on for Ladder Safety Month … there are over 130,000 emergency room visits each year due to ladder-related injuries according to The American Ladder Institute. We believe that you can help reduce that number simply by installing Safeguard’s Hi-Traction Anti-Slip Ladder Rung Covers on fixed ladders, especially in environments with water, oil, or dust making things slippery.
Celebrate Ladder Safety Month – request a sample cover today!
Entering and exiting transportation vehicles can be dangerous, especially when surfaces are wet.
Slip-and-fall injuries occur on buses and trains daily.
- Custom-fit anti-slip covers made to install over threshold areas
- Exceed OSHA and ADA safe surface guidelines
- Made for new vehicles or retrofit existing fleets
Finally, OSHA has released its updated standard on walking and working surfaces. At first glance, the focus seems to be on falls from heights and the fall protection systems that have become prevalent in the years since the last standard was issued. At 513 pages, it will take some time to process this information. We’ll be sure to report on what we discover as it relates to preventing slips-and-falls.