Falling Down - Slips, Trips, and Falls Prevention in the Smart Workplace



Introduction - statistics on slips, trips and falls


Injuries from slips, trips and falls cost the Irish economy €1.6 billion every year in medical costs and lost productivity (HSA) - these figures are alarming and reflect the need for effective safety measures.


In the workplace, seven people are injured every day by slips, trips and falls and in 22% of cases the employee is out of work for more than a month (HSA). By understanding the causes of slips, trips and falls businesses can implement measures to prevent these accidents from happening - the HSA has published guidelines for prevention, and there are conventional engineering and behavioural interventions that can be implemented.


But slips, trips and falls remain a leading cause for workplace injuries which is why innovators are developing smart technologies that can help organisations to reduce these incidents.


Causes of slips, trips and falls


Slips, trips, and falls can happen for a number of reasons, and can typically be categorised as environmental and/or individual (behavioural).


Environmental factors that can lead to slips, trips and falls include wet floors, uneven surfaces, poor lighting, weather conditions such as rain or snow, wet or icy surfaces, inadequate lighting, obstacles in walkways, and poor drainage.


Individual factors that can contribute to slips, trips and falls include being distracted while walking or running, carrying heavy loads or wearing inappropriate footwear, age-related changes in vision and balance, medical conditions such as diabetes and heart disease , and medications that affect balance .


One major cause is pedestrians who are not paying attention to their surroundings. The smartphone is a major distraction and texting or talking while walking can lead to an incident.


Another common cause is a wet or freshly cleaned surface. In the workplace, cleaning staff will typically put a cone, sandwich board or sign in an area or in front of a door where a floor has been cleaned - but this is a poor deterrent for entry; how many times have you walked past one of these signs?


The HSA actually found that in more than half of Slip, Trip and Fall incidents, signage was actually in place at the time! - HSA


"A review of slip, trip and fall accidents where the floor was being wet cleaned showed that signs were ineffective in preventing all slips, trips and falls on wet floors." - HSA
HSA finding

Prevention of slips, trips and falls


Prevention of slips, trips and falls can be achieved through engineering controls and behavioural interventions.


Engineering controls involve the use of devices or systems that prevent accidents from occurring. Some common engineering controls that can help prevent slips, trips and falls include non-slip flooring, anti-slip treads on stairs, adequate lighting, handrails on stairs, and warning signs or mats to alert employees to potential hazards.


It is important to remember that engineering controls are just one component of a comprehensive safety program. Employers should also provide employees with training on how to safely work in the workplace, and ensure that all safety equipment is properly maintained.


Behavioural interventions involve changing the way people behave to reduce the risk of slipping, tripping or falling. Some of the most common behavioral factors that lead to slips, trips and falls include haste, carelessness, distraction, poor vision and ignoring safety signs.


The most effective way to prevent slips, trips and falls is through a combination of engineering and behavioural interventions.


In Ireland, the Health and Safety Authority has produced guides on preventing slips, trips and falls in the workplace (download here)


A Smart Barrier - Slips, Trips and Falls Prevention Technology

Despite the conventional engineering and behavioural controls for prevention, slips, trips and falls remain the second most common workplace accident, costing businesses in Ireland and globally billions of Euro annually.


Technology innovators are developing smart barrier solutions that have the potential to disrupt this niche of the safety industry.

Smart technologies can sense and react to environmental conditions and alert workers to hazards.


One such solution is TRUCount Flex - developed by indigenous Irish company RedZone IPC Ltd. - for Pedestrian Access Control. This smart barrier is air-actuated and deploys to control pedestrian traffic to hazardous areas. It can be programmed and configured for a variety of settings and use cases and comes in a range of formats (e.g. wall mounted, portable, double-armed etc.) .



In practice, TRUCount Flex mounts unobtrusively to a door frame (or pedestal) and it's flexible arm deploys while an area is being cleaned and remains in place until the floor is dry. It's highly visible and creates a physical (but evacuation-safe) barrier to entry - not only this but it provides audio-visual alerts and even records breaches of the barrier while deployed. Units can be connected to each other wirelessly to enable synchronous operation and even area lockdown.


Some common applications include; factories, warehouses, retail, operations areas, restrooms, machinery zones, and construction sites.


It's smart capabilities set it apart from the passive conventional wet floor signs and it's gaining significant traction with multinational companies in 2022.



Conclusion


Slips, trips and falls are the second most common type of accident in the workplace; causing seven workplace injuries every workday in Ireland.


There are both environmental and individual factors that contribute to slips, trips, and falls and can commonly be a combination of factors. Environmental factors include things like poor lighting, uneven surfaces, and cluttered walkways but wet floors are a significant cause of slips, trips and falls and conventional signage is a poor deterrent to entry - with over half of slips, trips and falls occurring where signage was in place.



There are recommended ways to prevent these accidents, including wearing the right shoes, being aware of your surroundings, and using safety equipment. By understanding the factors that lead to these accidents and taking preventative measures, we can reduce our risk of being injured.



But there are also new innovations like TRUCount Flex - an Irish smart technology solution that is disrupting the safety barrier sector.


If your business has challenges with Slips, trips and falls you might want to consider a smart safety barrier solution like TRUCount Flex.



 

At RedZone, we design, develop, build and manage technical solutions that enable the Hybrid Workplace, Smart Buildings and create safer workplaces and public spaces.


We help organizations to manage occupancy, to optimise their workspaces and enhance public safety.


Contact us;


e: info@redzone.ie

e: redgerton@redzone.ie

t: +353 1 963 096

w: www.redzone.ie

 

TRUCount Flex is an Innovative access control and monitoring system that enables organisations to mitigate safety risks compliantly in areas where temporary hazards are present.


Features include;

  • Easy Install

  • Smart LCD Access Panel (Touch-screen)

  • Range of Sensor Options

  • Audio-Visual Alerts

  • Event recording

  • Timer settings

  • Dwell timings for wet & drying periods

  • Password Access

  • IP65

  • Scalable

To learn more about TRUCount Flex please visit our website -

https://www.trucountflex.com/


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