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Fall Doesn’t Mean Falling: Fall Prevention Week

Most of us have heard the familiar cry of the elderly lady in the TV commercial who says, “Help!  I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.”  While there is some humor in that commercial, it isn’t funny when someone is injured or debilitated.  The older we get, the more serious the consequence could be.

Dave Pancoast
Corporate Safety Director

This week the safety industry celebrates Fall Prevention Week. Starting today (September 22) until September 28, 2017, we are working to reduce the statistics of falling and physical trauma. Please visit stopfall.org for more information.

Falling is common at any age; it’s not limited to our construction sites but at the office, home, and during non-working hours.  People slip, trip, and fall for a variety of reasons: wet surfaces, uneven surfaces, smooth-bottom shoes, high heels, not paying attention, poor housekeeping, etc.  But as we head into this time of year, the fall hazards increase. Is it a coincidence that during autumn (a.k.a. the fall season) there are more slip/trip/fall risks from just walking?

During this time of year, early morning dew creates a slippery surface, especially if it’s frosty. This weather condition could mean the step leading into the truck cab or equipment, trailer decking, a road plate or any smooth service, including a grassy area, could result in injury. Over the years, some energetic folks have taken a running start to leap onto the step of a truck or equipment, slipped on dew or frost, fell, and smashed their face or shin into the truck or machine … ouch!

With shorter daylight hours or overcast skies, it may be dark, or foggy which leads to poor visibility. Awareness of these conditions is a good start. For visibility, make sure that your windshield wipers are in good condition and the windshield washer reservoir is full. But you must also be aware of other driving conditions that can compromise your commute, such as slick road surfaces, especially at overpasses and underpasses.  To avoid issues, double check that your tire treads are adequate for the surfaces on which you drive.

Of course, there are other types of slippery surfaces we need to be aware of, for example, wet leaves and muddy areas. Often fallen leaves cover depressions or low spots, roots, rocks, curbs, grates, etc. that otherwise would be visible and less of a hazard at other times of the year. Walking into a building that has smooth floors can be slick, especially if the soles of your shoes are wet or moist. Just like tires, knowing the condition of your boot or shoe’s tread is important.  A smooth tread has no chance against a slick surface.

Just because the calendar says “Fall,” doesn’t mean you have to.

 

* This article first appeared in Danella’s company newsletter, Danella Pride, Vol 1.0.