Good housekeeping is an important part of ensuring the success and safety of any workplace. Not only does it have a positive impact on morale, but it can also help prevent costly accidents. Simple changes can make an enormous difference when it comes to fall prevention. By maintaining a clean, organized, and obstacle-free work environment, employers can reduce the risk of falls and create a safer and more secure workplace for everyone.
Falls are one of the most common workplace injuries, with potentially devastating consequences, leading to injury, time off work, long-term disability and even death. It is important to understand the risk factors associated with falls in order to implement preventative measures that reduce these risks. Employers should take proactive measures to prevent falls in the workplace and ensure the safety of employees.
In this article, we'll take a closer look at how good housekeeping practices can help prevent falls in the workplace. From keeping walkways clear of debris and obstacles to using anti-slip floor treatments in areas prone to moisture, we'll explore the steps employers can take to create a safer work environment for employees. By implementing these measures, employers can reduce the risk of falls, promote a safer work environment, and protect their employees from injury.
The Risks of Falls in the Workplace
Falls in the workplace are a major concern for employers and employees alike. Falls can result in serious physical injury, disabilities, lost productivity, increased healthcare costs, reduced morale, and legal liability. In order to prevent falls and reduce these risks, it is important for employers to take steps to maintain a safe and hazard-free workplace.
Here are some of the risks associated with falls in the workplace:
1. Physical injury
• Physical injuries resulting from falls can range from minor bruises and scrapes to more serious injuries such as broken bones, head injuries, and spinal cord injuries. These injuries can cause pain, suffering, and disability, and can require extensive medical treatment, including surgery and rehabilitation.
2. Disabling injury
• Disabling injuries resulting from falls can have a significant impact on an individual's ability to work and live a normal life. These injuries can include spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and serious fractures that require extensive rehabilitation and physical therapy. In some cases, disabling injuries resulting from falls can be so severe that employees are unable to return to work, either permanently or for an extended period of time.
3. Lost productivity
• Falls in the workplace can result in lost productivity due to time away from work for medical treatment and recovery. Employees who are injured in falls may require extensive medical care, including hospitalization, surgery, physical therapy, and rehabilitation. This can result in significant time away from work, reducing overall productivity and impacting the bottom line of a business.
4. Increased healthcare costs
• The cost of medical treatment and rehabilitation for falls can be substantial and can have a significant impact on a business's bottom line. This can include the cost of hospitalization, surgery, physical therapy, rehabilitation, and other medical expenses. In addition to direct medical costs, employers may also be responsible for the cost of workers' compensation and other benefits for employees who are injured in falls.
5. Reduced morale
• Falls in the workplace can cause fear and anxiety among employees, leading to decreased morale and decreased job satisfaction. Employees may feel nervous or worried about the risk of falling, which can impact their overall well-being and job satisfaction. This can result in decreased productivity, reduced engagement, and a negative impact on employee morale.
6. Legal liability
• Employers can be held legally responsible for accidents that occur in the workplace, and can face fines, lawsuits, and other legal penalties. In the event of a fall, an injured employee may sue the employer for damages, alleging that the employer failed to provide a safe and secure work environment. This can result in costly legal fees, settlements, and other financial penalties.
Prevent Falls in the Workplace: A Guide to Effective Good Housekeeping Practices
Preventing falls in the workplace is a critical aspect of maintaining a safe and secure work environment. Good housekeeping practices can play an important role in reducing the risk of falls by keeping the work environment organized, free of hazards, and properly maintained.
1. Regularly clean up spills and wet floors.
• Regularly cleaning up spills and wet floors is an important aspect of good housekeeping practices in the workplace. Spills and wet floors can be slippery and pose a significant risk of falls. By cleaning up spills and mopping wet floors immediately, you can help to prevent accidents and minimize the risk of slips and falls.
Additionally, cleaning up spills and wet floors can also help to prevent the spread of germs and bacteria, promoting a healthier work environment. In order to ensure that spills and wet floors are properly cleaned up, it may be necessary to establish a protocol for reporting and cleaning up spills, as well as provide employees with the necessary tools and equipment to do so.
2. Keep walkways and aisles clear of obstacles and clutter.
• Keeping walkways and aisles clear of obstacles and clutter is another critical aspect of good housekeeping practices in the workplace. Obstructions in walkways and aisles can be tripped over, causing falls and accidents. To prevent this, it is important to regularly inspect walkways and aisles, and remove any items that may pose a hazard, such as boxes, tools, or other equipment.
Employees should also be trained to properly store items when not in use, so as not to create clutter in walkways and aisles. In addition, it may be necessary to establish designated storage areas to minimize the amount of clutter in walkways and aisles.
3. Properly store tools, materials, and equipment.
• Properly storing tools, materials, and equipment can prevent falls by ensuring that walkways and aisles are clear and free of obstacles. When tools and equipment are stored in an organized and accessible manner, employees can easily locate what they need without having to maneuver around cluttered areas. This helps to reduce the risk of trips, slips, and falls.
By ensuring that tools and equipment are properly stored, employers can help to maintain a safe and organized workplace, which can improve employee morale, increase productivity, and reduce the risk of workplace accidents.
4. Mark and clearly identify potential hazards (such as open holes in the floor).
• Marking and identifying potential hazards such as open holes in the floor is an important step in preventing falls in the workplace. By clearly identifying these hazards, employees can be made aware of potential risks and take necessary precautions. This helps to reduce the risk of accidents and increase overall safety in the workplace.
Clear markings can also help to prompt a quicker response from management or maintenance staff to correct the hazard and prevent further incidents from occurring.
5. Ensure good lighting in all areas of the workplace.
• Adequate lighting is important in the workplace to prevent falls. Poor lighting can make it difficult to see potential hazards and obstacles, increasing the risk of falls. Good lighting helps to create a safer work environment by making it easier for employees to see what they are doing, identify potential hazards, and move around the workplace safely.
This can include providing adequate natural light, as well as installing artificial lighting in areas that need it. Good lighting can also help to improve employee morale and job satisfaction by making the workplace brighter and more welcoming.
6. Inspect and maintain flooring to ensure it is in good condition.
• Keeping flooring in good condition is important in preventing falls in the workplace. Regular inspections should be performed to check for any signs of wear and tear, such as cracks, loose tiles, or uneven surfaces. Flooring that is in poor condition can create a tripping hazard and increase the risk of falls.
To maintain flooring, necessary repairs should be made promptly and any spills or wet areas should be cleaned up immediately to prevent slip and fall accidents. Maintaining flooring in good condition will not only help to prevent falls but also create a safe and professional appearance in the workplace.
7. Regularly inspect and maintain ladders and other elevated equipment.
• Regular inspections of ladders and other elevated equipment are crucial for ensuring their safety and functionality. These inspections can detect any potential hazards such as loose screws, missing or damaged rungs, or corrosion. By fixing these issues before they become serious, the risk of falls and other accidents can be greatly reduced.
Regular maintenance can also extend the lifespan of the equipment and minimize the need for replacements, saving time and resources in the long run.
8. Use safety signs and labels to indicate hazards.
• Using safety signs and labels is an effective way to clearly identify potential hazards in the workplace. This helps to raise awareness of the hazard and remind employees of the need to take precautions to avoid accidents. The signs and labels should be easy to read and placed in a prominent location, such as near the hazard or on equipment.
This helps to prevent falls and other accidents by providing a clear and visible warning of potential hazards.
9. Implement a system for reporting and addressing hazards.
• Implementing a system for reporting and addressing hazards is crucial in maintaining a safe and hazard-free workplace. This system should allow employees to easily report any potential hazards they encounter, and provide a clear process for assessing and addressing these hazards in a timely manner.
This helps to ensure that hazards are identified and addressed before they can cause injury, and also helps to create a culture of safety within the workplace by empowering employees to play a role in identifying and addressing hazards.
10. Provide proper training to employees on safe work practices, including how to prevent falls.
• Providing proper training to employees on safe work practices, including how to prevent falls, is an important aspect of maintaining a safe workplace. This training should educate employees on the potential hazards they may encounter while performing their duties, and teach them the proper techniques and procedures to follow to avoid accidents.
This includes information on how to recognize and report hazards, as well as how to respond to an emergency situation. By ensuring that all employees are trained in these safety practices, businesses can reduce the risk of accidents and injuries, increase employee morale, and ultimately help to improve the overall safety and efficiency of the workplace.
The Benefits of Good Housekeeping Practices: A Safe, Efficient and Productive Workplace for All
Good housekeeping practices are beneficial for both employees and employers. By following a effective guide to good housekeeping, the workplace becomes safer, more organized, and free of hazards, reducing the risk of accidents such as falls. This creates a positive work environment, increases employee morale, and leads to improved productivity.
On the other hand, employers can benefit from better compliance with workplace safety regulations, cost savings, improved reputation, and better health and well-being among employees. Implementing good housekeeping practices is a win-win for all, creating a safer, more efficient, and more productive workplace for everyone.
1. Improved safety
• By keeping the workplace organized, free of hazards, and properly maintained, good housekeeping can reduce the risk of accidents, including falls, and promote a safer work environment.
2. Increased productivity
• A well-organized and clean workplace can help to increase employee morale and motivation, leading to improved productivity and performance.
3. Better compliance with regulations
• Good housekeeping can help employers comply with various workplace safety regulations, such as OSHA standards, reducing the risk of fines and legal penalties.
4. Enhanced reputation
• A workplace that is well-maintained and organized can help to improve the reputation of a business, attracting more customers and improving customer satisfaction.
5. Cost savings
• By reducing the risk of accidents, and improving productivity and morale, good housekeeping practices can help to save money and improve the bottom line of a business.
6. Improved health and well-being
• A clean and well-maintained workplace can help to improve air quality and reduce the spread of germs, promoting better health and well-being for employees.
Falls are one of the most common workplace accidents, but they are also one of the most preventable.
Good housekeeping practices promote a safer and healthier work environment. Regular cleaning and organization can help to prevent the spread of germs and illnesses, while proper storage of materials, tools, and equipment can minimize the risk of workplace accidents and injuries. A well-cleaned and clearly marked workplace can also help to prevent accidents, making employees feel more confident and secure in their work environment.
Additionally, employers can benefit from a safer, more efficient, and productive workplace, as well as a better reputation and lower costs. By following a effective guide to good housekeeping practices, both employees and employers can reap the benefits of a safe, efficient and productive work environment.
Find out how to manage your business' health and safety better
Many employers are concerned about their reporting obligations for COVID-19/Coronavirus/SARS-CoV-2 under RIDDOR in the ongoing pandemic. You may be pleased to know that you do not have to report everything to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). We'll provide more info about when, what, and how to report.
The most common concern we've seen recently from employers is whether they need to report all COVID-19 and coronavirus testing results to the HSE. The short answer is no. According to the HSE: “There is no requirement under RIDDOR (The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013) to report incidents of disease or deaths of members of the public, patients, care home residents or service users from COVID-19. The reporting requirements relating to cases of, or deaths from, COVID-19 under RIDDOR apply only to occupational exposure, that is, as a result of a person's work.”
Generally speaking, the ordinary RIDDOR rules already cover COVID-19. You should only make a report under RIDDOR when one of the following circumstances applies:
• an accident or incident at work has or could have caused the release of coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). (Report as Dangerous occurrence)
• a worker is diagnosed with COVID-19 due to occupational exposure. (Report as Disease)
• a worker dies because of occupational coronavirus exposure. (Report as Work-related death due to exposure to a biological agent)
The bottom line is that existing rules cover most COVID-19 measures, and most of the COVID-19 guidance comes from public health authorities rather than the HSE. The environment remains chaotic, but you can minimize your legal exposure by continuing your existing compliance steps. This will include communicating with your insurer about risks, following public health guidance, and communicating regularly with your workers or unions on any of their concerns.
© Gavin Coyle, 2021
© Gavin Coyle, 2021