Slips, trips and falls account for the most accidents in general industry, according to OSHA, resulting in 15 percent of accidental deaths in the workplace. Only work-related motor vehicle accidents cause more worker fatalities annually.
These accidents also cause many injuries that lead to time spent away from work. Slips, trips and falls (STFs) can cause sprains, strains, fractures, cuts, bruises and even concussions, which often prevent workers from doing their jobs.
A number of hazards in the workplace can lead to STFs. Wet areas, surfaces covered in dry materials (like dust, powders or wood shavings), recently cleaned or polished areas and differences in elevation (likes ramps, stairs or un-level surfaces) can make the ground slippery and difficult to maneuver. Today we’ll take a look specifically at slipping hazards and how they can be addressed using anti-slip tape.
Anti-Slip Tape Applications
Anti-slip tape, sometimes called traction tape or non-skid tape, increases the friction between a worker’s shoes and the ground’s surface, which helps prevent slipping. This kind of tape can be used in all sorts of workplaces ranging from manufacturing facilities and warehouses to hospitals and schools.
You might be surprised to learn that hospitals experience large numbers of STF injuries (at a rate “90% greater than the average rate for all other private industries combined,” according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health). Manufacturing also experiences many STFs, and 16 percent of all injuries related to STFs (on same-level) come from manufacturing workplaces, reports The Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association.
If your workplace falls into either of these categories—or any other category where slipping hazards exist—traction tape can help. The following are locations where traction tape can be very beneficial.
1. Building Entrances
One of the most common ways water enters a building is on people’s shoes when it’s raining or snowing. Adding traction tape at entrances can prevent workers and visitors from slipping when their shoes are wet or when they step in a puddle from someone else’s shoes.
Any location where elevation changes tends to experience many STFs. This is especially true when surfaces are slippery. Installing anti-slip tape on ramps throughout the workplace will help workers safely navigate these areas.
You’ve likely seen stairs with traction tape before, and for good reason. Should an employee slip on stairs, he or she could fall a significant distance, which could result in a serious injury. Adding strips of anti-slip tape on each step will help prevent workers from slipping, which is especially important if workers are wearing casual shoes without much traction on the bottoms. You can cut strips of anti-slip tape yourself or purchase them pre-cut.
4. Loading Docks
Like building entrances, loading docks are high-traffic areas where workers are often exposed to the elements. Trucks and shipments enter and leave the building in this area, and many workers load and unload these materials. Loading docks can quickly get slippery if the weather is wet, and most loading docks have ledges or ramps. Combined, these factors can make loading docks pretty hazardous. Adding strips of traction tape in parts of the loading dock where workers frequently walk is a worthy investment.
Garages can quickly get wet, just like loading docks. Vehicles move in and out, and their tires carry in water, dirt and other debris from the outdoors. Adding traction tape along pedestrian walkways (like those in parking garages) is important because unlike a loading dock, a garage may not always be easy to mop up quickly.
6. Kitchens/Food Service Areas
Kitchens and cafeterias are common locations where STFs occur because water and other liquids can easily get spilled on the floor. In some cases, kitchen floors have drains where moisture might accumulate or sinks and pipes that leak. Workers should make sure water leakage isn’t a problem in kitchens, but if there are areas where wet surfaces are an unavoidable problem, anti-slip tape can be installed.
7. Manufacturing Floors
Some industries are more prone to slippery floors than others. Some food processing facilities, for example, tend to have wet floors, while a facility that cuts wood might have a lot of sawdust on the floor. Anti-slip tape could be helpful in either of these situations. Safety managers just need to assess where the problematic spots are in their facilities. They should also keep in mind that the material the floor is made from will play a role in whether employees could slip; a tile floor, for example, would be more slippery than a coarser concrete floor.
Additional Slip Prevention Tips
The locations listed above can all benefit from anti-slip tape, but tape alone cannot prevent all slips, trips and falls. Workplaces that find they have many STF accidents should also implement clear housekeeping plans for cleaning floors. These plans should include instructions for how to deal with any kind of spill. These facilities should also consider installing warning signs (permanent or temporary, depending on the situation) when extra caution is necessary and railings around openings or ledges where STFs could occur.
Footwear is also critical to avoiding slipping. Shoes with traction on the bottom should be worn in dangerous workplaces instead of shoes with smooth leather or plastic soles. Some employers require specific shoes or offer reimbursements to employees who select footwear with better traction.
Workplaces can also get creative with anti-slip tape and use it in ways that suit their facilities. Traction tape could be added to the steps of ladders, for example. A quick internet search of anti-slip tape reveals that many people even use this tape on skateboards so the rider’s shoes grip the board more easily, so there are plenty of unique uses for anti-slip tape.
Anti-slip tape is also available in many colors and patterns. It even comes in glow-in-the-dark varieties, too. Select styles suited to your workplace and see if you can find places to prevent slips, trips and falls. To obtain samples of anti-slip tape, you can call Creative Safety Supply at 1-866-777-1360 and mention “traction tape.”