Injuries and Illness

Home Is Where the Falls Are

According to the National Safety Council, when it comes to off-the-job safety, falls in the home are the second leading cause of accidental death in the community, surpassed only by car crashes.

Whether your employees fall and injure themselves on the job or fall and get hurt off-the job, the result is often the same—lost workdays that interfere with your production schedules and pain and suffering for the injured worker.

Here are some tips that would make a good short safety meeting to teach workers to prevent home falls.

Fall-Proof the Home on the Inside

There’s a lot workers can do to make their home environment safe from slips and falls.  For example:

  • Clear up the clutter inside your home that could cause someone to trip and fall.
  • Keep electrical cords out of the path of foot traffic.
  • If possible, install railings on both sides of the stairs.
  • Never store any items on the stairs.
  • Secure area rugs with double-sided tape or rubber padding.
  • Increase lighting throughout the house.
  • Plug in nightlights in bedrooms, bathrooms, and hallways.
  • Use rubber mats in the bathtub and rubber-backed rugs on the bathroom floor.
  • Avoid floor wax cleaners.
  • Clean up spills immediately, whether they are greasy or just wet.
  • Be careful when using ladders for home fix-it jobs.

Fall-Proof the Home on the Outside

Likewise, there are several steps employees can take to safeguard the exterior of their homes

  • Install railings on outdoor stairs.
  • Add outdoor lighting at entryways and along walkways.
  • In winter, be sure to clear steps and sidewalks of snow and ice and use sand to improve foot traction.
  • Fill holes and depressions in the yard.

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Take Extra Steps to Protect Children from Falls

Children are particularly vulnerable to home falls. Employees should take steps to prevent injuries. For example:

  • Never leave babies unattended on beds, changing tables, or even sofas.
  • Strap babies and toddlers in highchairs and strollers.
  • Install safety gates at the top of staircases and be sure to secure them to the wall.
  • Don’t let children play in raised outdoor areas, such as fire escapes, balconies, high porches, or decks.
  • Move furniture, such as chairs, sofas, and beds, away from windows. Small children love to climb.
  • Keep windows closed and locked. For ventilation, open only those windows that children cannot reach. If you must open a low window, use window guards to prevent it from being opened wide.
  • Insist that children pick up their toys.

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