Workplace slips and falls are a major cause workplace insurance claims in Alberta, but these types of injuries are very common and can just as easily take place at home. Whether you’re a business owner or a homeowner, being proactive about avoiding slips and falls is essential to keeping your premiums as low as possible. Avoiding injuries – and the insurance claims that come with them – is one of the keys to preventing increases to your premiums.
Slip-and-Fall Injuries in the Workplace
One of the reasons that slip and fall injuries have become such a hot-button insurance issue in Alberta is that more and more Canadians are filing claims after getting hurt at work. In the U.S., it is common for people to sue if they injure themselves in the workplace or another person’s property, and that trend has begun to migrate north of the border.
The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) recommends that all business owners follow a three-part strategy for protecting themselves and their employees:
- Recognize how most slip-and-fall accidents happen
- Identify problem areas in the work environment
- Take action to reduce risk
Build a Safer Work Environment
The vast majority of slip-and-fall accidents are the direct result of loss of traction. This can happen for a wide range of reasons, such as:
- Employees are short on time and rushing around the workplace
- Wet floors are not properly marked
- Surface transitions (steps, bumps, elevations, concrete to carpet) are abrupt or poorly marked
- Insufficient lighting
- A lack of handrails
As an employer, it is your responsibility to ensure that you are minimizing these risks in your workplace. To that end, here are six proven strategies you can use:
- Create a systematized approach to cleaning and maintenance, ensuring that all areas in the workplace are properly cared for, and that signage is used to alert employees to slip-and-fall risks such as wet floors or uneven stairs
- Make sure that parking lots, entrances and exits, sidewalks, bathroom floors and all other similar areas do not present slip-and-fall risks; use salt on snowy or icy surfaces during the winter, and remove excess water from all other floor surfaces as quickly as possible
- Keep hallways, walkways and aisles free of clutter at all times, and eliminate tripping hazards like electrical cords, hoses and cables
- Ensure all workplace areas are properly lit during both daylight and nighttime hours; train employees to turn on lights before entering a dark area
- Inform employees that wearing suitable footwear is their responsibility
- Train employees not to run in the workplace or carry large amounts of material that could impair their ability to see where they’re going; also, discourage the use of cell phones while walking through the workplace, since distractions can easily lead to slips and falls
Remember, employers must also document workplace safety initiatives at all times. If you have specific questions about your responsibilities, or for further resources, the Alberta Ministry of Labour is an excellent place to turn.
Avoid Slips and Falls at Home
Slips and falls aren’t necessarily minor accidents; they are one of the leading causes of unintentional death in the home environment. You should always be mindful of eliminating slip-and-fall hazards in and around your home, especially if you have children or seniors in your household.
Follow these strategic essentials for making your home a safer place for visitors and residents alike:
- Make sure all hallways, walkways and staircases are free of clutter and potential tripping hazards
- Use salt on the sidewalk in front of your home, on your driveway, and on all other walkways during the winter
- Clean up all spills as soon as they happen
- Replace unstable throw rugs with skid-free mats in all rooms, especially bathrooms and laundry rooms
- Make sure your furniture is arranged in such a way that it allows people plenty of space to move around the room
- Install handrails alongside all staircases, even short ones
- Consider adding a walk-in bathtub and installing grab bars or other safe bathing devices if you have mobility-impaired people in your household
Insurance Alberta: Trust Lane’s for All Your Coverage Needs
At Lane’s Insurance, we want you to run a safer workplace or household. If you have any questions about your current coverage, or if you have any other insurance needs, our brokers will be happy to discuss them with you in detail. Alternately, you can receive a fast, free, no-obligation home insurance and business insurance quote online.