“Help! I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up!”
Oftentimes, we associate slips, trips, and falls with the elderly or our clumsy cousin. But, did you know that these are among the most common types of accidents in the workplace? Further, slips, trips, and falls can result in serious injuries with lasting consequences – especially for truck drivers and logistics workers.
Even the most youthful and athletic drivers are not exempt from these incidents, much less those who are in poor physical condition. One moment of distraction is all it takes for a trucker to make a mistake when walking around his vehicle or climbing into the cab.
To prevent yourself from incurring a devastating injury, you should become familiar with some best practices for maneuvering around your commercial vehicle and at transportation facilities. Here, we are going to look at several common causes of slips, trips, and falls (STFs), followed by practical ways you can prevent them.
COMMON CAUSES OF SLIPS, TRIPS, & FALLS
An obvious culprit of workplace STFs is slick flooring. This could be a result of a number of things, such as freshly mopped floors or oil spills. This is particularly prevalent on smooth surfaces, such as a concrete warehouse floors. Also note that dirty floors can sometimes be just as problematic as slick ones. If the floor is dusty enough for you to slide around, it’s time to sweep!
CLIMBING IN & OUT OF THE TRUCK
One of the most underestimated dangers of truck driving is climbing in and out of the cab of the truck. Doing so too quickly or without the proper technique can leave you laying on the pavement with serious injuries. Additionally, jumping or hopping out of the cab drastically increases your chances of twisting an ankle or hurting your back.
Uneven surfaces can cause drivers to trip, especially when it’s dark outside. Old parking lots or roads laden with potholes can wreak havoc on a truck driver who isn’t being careful.
ICE & SNOW
Winter weather and trucking don’t mix nicely. Icy and snowy conditions can make truck drivers’ lives harder both on their feet and behind the wheel.
In the transportation industry, we utilize various tools and equipment such as forklifts, pallets, and dollies. If left unattended or in inappropriate places, these tools can become dangerous obstacles that present tripping hazards for workers.
HOW YOU CAN PREVENT SLIPS, TRIPS, & FALLS
WEAR THE RIGHT FOOTWEAR
Your first step against slips, trips, and falls in the transportation industry involves your shoes. In most cases, truck drivers and warehouse personnel ought to wear non-slip work boots with textured treads to maximize traction. Footwear such as cowboy boots have smooth soles and should be avoided always.
CLEAN SPILLS IMMEDIATELY
Have you caused or spotted a fluid spill of any kind? Don’t leave it around, as it could quickly become a slipping hazard to you or someone else. Saying, “I’ll get it later,” could result in a visit to the E.R. Keep in mind that some fluids such as motor oil may require specific clean-up processes.
USE THE 3-POINT SYSTEM
As you climb into and out of the cab of your truck, it’s absolutely necessary that you use the 3-point system (sometimes called 3 points of contact). This means that at all times, three of your four limbs are securely in contact with the truck. So, if you’ve only got one hand gripping the truck, both of your feet should be making contact with the truck. Conversely, if only one of your feet is making contact, both hands should be firmly gripping the truck.
TAKE YOUR TIME
It’s important that you make your movements carefully and deliberately. This is especially true when you’re getting in your truck during winter weather. Always check each grip and platform that you are using to be sure that it’s not compromised by water, ice, snow, grease, or anything else. Whatever time of the year it is, analyze your surroundings and be aware of slip, trip, and fall hazards.
LIGHT THE WAY
If you can’t see, you can’t actively avoid hazards such as wet floors or obstacles. So, keep a flashlight handy and light up your environment when it’s dark.
THE BIG IDEA
Slips, trips, and falls are an ever-present threat for truck drivers and transportation workers. When you become rushed or impatient, the chances of injury increase. Sometimes, that injury can result in months of being unable to work. So, remember – no matter how urgent a load is, you still have time to do things right!