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Safety planning: Use proper equipment for maximum impact

September 19, 2010
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Pedestrian safety is a topic that requires attention, planning and action.

Falls are the leading cause of emergency room visits and as the average cost per claim has grown to exceed $10,000, no facility can afford to be in a reactive position.

The Boy Scouts had the right idea — be prepared.

Preparation means taking a serious look at your facility to identify potential hazard sources, and likely slip-and-fall scenarios.

Once you have a clear picture of your pedestrian traffic patterns and your hazard risks, you are in a position to take action.

If you have a wet mopping operation, you can expect to encounter slip-and-fall conditions as a daily part of your work.

Your professional equipment should include folding safety signs and mobile barricades, designed to collapse and be positioned near the most likely hazard sites for rapid deployment.

The key factor in preventing falls is short response time: Identify the hazard, take rapid action to alert pedestrians, and if need be, barricade to inhibit access to the hazard.

Scheduling the occasional safety training ensures that your team knows when and how to use these safety tools, and where to find them.

Reduce exposure to liability claims

To protect you and your facility against claims take these steps:

  • Be aware of industry specific safety facts
  • Implement and use a safety program
  • Keep a written record of the safety system that is in place
  • Use audit tools to help calculate safety items and placements
  • Keep basic records and inspection logs of your safety program
  • Train employees on proper pedestrian safety practices and maintain records of employee safety training

If incidents do occur, investigate immediately and record findings.

There are other instances when simply alerting pedestrians of a potential hazard is not sufficient.

For unanticipated problems, from an automatic door malfunction to painting and various other types of scheduled maintenance, effective accident prevention can require the use of a barrier.

Yet again, the proper tool depends upon the job.

The best protection from legal liability is to have proper plans and resources in place before an accident occurs.

If reasonable precautions to prevent incidents are in place, you can reduce the risk of liability.

Mark Hoyle is manager of the Pedestrian Safety Group, and has been instrumental in the product development and technical innovation of pedestrian safety products. Joe DeZarn is director of communications at Rubbermaid Commercial Products, LLC.

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