Slips and falls are one of the leading causes of workplace injuries in New Jersey. According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, 17 percent of all disabling accidents in the work environment are the results of falling on the job.
Slips and falls can result in a wide range of injuries, including broken bones, sprained ligaments, concussions, and contusions. Depending on the nature of the fall, the damage can be fairly repairable with proper treatment or can cause long term permanent disabilities.
For many employees, the most frustrating aspect of slip and fall injuries is that they seem so preventable. Most are not the result of random bad luck or a known risk of the job, they are caused by simple mistakes that, with proper training and procedures, need not happen. While employers bear a significant portion of the burden in ensuring that slip and fall incidents do not occur, there are also certain steps that employees can take to minimize their risk.
Minimize Clutter in Hamilton Township
Many slip and fall injuries occur as a result of items being present on a walkway or in a working space that should not be there. For example, a piece of plastic or an old paper box may be sitting on a step or left on the floor. These innocuous items may not seem like much at first, but if a busy employee happens to step on them, they can easily lead to a fall and injury.
While employers should set a policy of being clutter-free in the workplace, employees can also help to minimize risks by being careful not to leave items in the path of others, trying to keep workspaces as clutter free as possible and alerting employers when others seem to be leaving items in locations where they could cause injury. Rather than attempting to move items after they’ve been left somewhere or to clean up after others at the end of the day, employees can try to set a precedent for their colleagues of avoiding clutter at all costs in the workplace.
This often means ensuring that all equipment and supplies have a proper place in your physical workspace and diligently working to make sure that all waste is immediately disposed of or recycled. Through careful organization and consistent practices, employees can minimize their own risk of unexpected slipping occurring, at least within the parts of the workplace environment that are in their control.
Paying Attention to Lighting and Signage
Some causes of potential slips and falls are unavoidable. Your workplace may have surfaces that are slippery by nature, or you may frequently have water spills on your property that can create unsafe conditions. For example, individuals working at a car wash are inevitably faced with potentially slippery situations.
In these types of conditions, many aspects of a potential accident are out of an employee’s control. However, employees can do their part by making sure that they use all available lighting within their workplace environment and pay attention to any signage on the property. In the busyness of a day-to-day work environment, it can be easy to begin to ignore signage at your workplace that speaks to permanent dangers on the property, or to completely overlook temporary signage that an employer has put up to address a more recent issue.
If your employer is taking the necessary steps to try to alert you of dangerous conditions that you might encounter, or to make dangerous situations safer by providing appropriate lighting and signage, you should do your best to take advantage of these protections and heed these warnings.
Additionally, when you are alerted to a new condition that may make it unsafe for workers, such as a sudden spill, it is important to immediately respond to such conditions, alert your employers and fellow employees about the situation, and try to maximize awareness to improve safety for all. Making it a practice to warn others can make a significant difference for their safety and for your own.
What about Footwear?
While work conditions can increase the possibility of spills and falls, employees can also exacerbate these risks when they fail to wear the proper footwear for their job. Employees have the responsibility to know their work environment and the types of conditions that they will encounter and to ensure they are properly dressed for their position.
If there is a company policy in place that clearly describing the type of footwear and traction that is necessary for employees to do their job safely, employees should do their best to comply with that policy at all times. Again, rather than having to deal with possible injury when things go wrong, it is most helpful to set a precedent and practice of following necessary safety measures and policies from the beginning.
New Jersey Attorneys Assisting You in Evaluating Your Policies and Practices
If you slip or fall at work and are injured, the hard working attorneys at Petro Cohen are here to help you get all of the workers’ compensation benefits to which you may be entitled.
Petro Cohen has been consistently recognized as one of New Jersey’s leading firms in the area of workers’ comp. The firm received the highest rating by Martindale-Hubbell – the world’s foremost authority on law firm credentials – in Professional Excellence and Ethical Standards and Legal Ability.
In addition to the firm’s outstanding reputation for excellence, Frank Petro, who heads the workers’ compensation department, is respected locally, regionally, and nationally as a leading attorney in this specialized field. He has been recognized as an outstanding attorney by Best Lawyers® every year since 1995 and by Super Lawyers® every year since 2005. Moreover, he has achieved a rating of “Superb” on the leading lawyer-review website, Avvo®, the highest achievable rating.
Along with fellow attorneys Stephen M. Matarazzo, Suzanne Holz Meola, Terri Hiles, Steven Lubcher, and Daniel Rosenthal, our New Jersey workers’ comp team have more than 100 years of combined experience, having successfully handled thousands of litigated workers’ comp cases throughout New Jersey. This experience and winning track record means that you are going to have a skilled New Jersey work injury lawyer who will work hard for you.
For more information or to schedule an appointment at one of our four southern New Jersey offices (Northfield, Cherry Hill, Cape May Court House, and Hamilton), contact us online or at (888) 675-7607.