Spill prevention and control is essential to every workplace regardless of industry. Slippery surfaces account for 55% of all slips, trips, and falls, which in turn account for 37% of all reported workplace injuries. It is likely that slippery surfaces will have an influence on your workplace injuries, those which cost in time spent of work and replacing employees, and in worker’s comp fines. Reducing and managing spills is in everyone’s best interest for a safe workplace but achieving that can be difficult. The following workplan was created to help you save lives and costs.
Step 1: Investigating Common Sources of Spills
Before you can control and prevent spills, you need to know what is making spills in your workplace, specifically. Of course, the first answer is people, which is true for every workplace. However, we are talking about investigating exactly where, when, and how spills have been occurring. Have all previous spills happened in one hallway corner? Is there a leaking pipe? Do processes create splashes? Depending on the trend, you will need to deal with the problem differently.
Step 2: Fixing the Workplace
For spills caused by faulty equipment or troublesome areas, you should fix the problem with engineering controls. Problems may be so simple that a pipe needs to be patched or pan needs to be placed to catch spray. For more unclear problems and trouble areas, you likely need to consider abstract ideas. Consider the earlier mentioned hallway corner, there employees bump into someone coming around the corner and spill what they are carrying. A convex mirror placed in the corner will show employees when someone is coming their way. Or think about a machine that creates splashes. Nearby, it would be worthwhile to place grating that liquid can fall through but still provides a surface for employees to walk on safely. The easiest way to eliminate spills is to fix the workplace because it guarantees that spills are managed without anyone’s effort.
Step 3: Change Processes
When spills are common occurrences in parts of the workplace, processes may be to blame. Consider ways that processes can be changed so that they do not create spills, or if they are necessary then consider if they can be done at different times. For example, cleaning equipment should be done at the end of the workday so that spills dry when no one is around. In other cases, utilizing tools like funnels can decrease the number of spills also. Different processes will have different means of reducing spills, but don’t be afraid to try new ideas for ensuring safety.
Step 4: Supplying Protection and Training
For spills caused mostly by human error, you should train employees on how to reduce spills in the workplace. Teach them the hazards of spills for both their and others’ safety so that employees can be cognizant of the morals around ignoring such hazards. As well, implement the use of posters, regular talks, or other means to remind them about how they should act when they discover spills in the workplace. It may also be worthwhile to require non-slip footing in the workplace, as an extra means of protection. Do what you can to ensure that they are safe around spills on the job.