I’VE FALLEN AND I CAN’T GET UP
Falling is more likely to cause serious back injury than
lifting. Employees have many occasions to fall in the
information destruction industry. In the field, they often
have to negotiate stairs, even with heavy loads. They
ride up and down on tailgate lifts, sometimes needing to
turn and move heavy containers. Many of the innovations
in modern collection and mobile shredding trucks have
removed these hazards; however, while those technological
advances are growing in popularity, they do not yet
represent the majority of operating equipment.
Employees need to be aware of falling hazards in the plant
too. First are the areas of concern for tasks employees are
routinely called on to do. They may have to climb to clean
dust collectors or unplug conveyors and chutes. Wherever
any predicable safety risks exist in the plant, the employer
has a special obligation to recognize those hazards and
develop a method for minimizing the risk. If employees
have to regularly climb up to unplug a jammed baler
charge chute, they should be appropriately trained and the
procedure should be put in writing.
Some frequent employee behaviors, both unsafe and NOT
required to run the plant, are still predictable and need to
be forbidden in written employee training materials. For
instance, employees should not be allowed to climb on
bales. They should also be forbidden from riding the fork of
a forklift or on a pallet on a forklift. We’ll reiterate just as
you should: Safety First.
And, of course, ice and water lead to falls too. These need
to be treated or removed as soon as possible as a matter
of course. It is also not a bad idea to keep a couple of those
yellow “wet floor” clap signs around. You can get them for
a few bucks each.
Falling accidents are generally avoidable if the time is
taken to recognize the risks in advance. Dealing with the
predicable risks in written policies, and training employees
to be aware of hazards in their immediate surroundings are
the keys to minimizing the occurrence of falls.
The National Safety Council also recommends power warm-ups to
prevent lifting injuries and to keep the back strong and healthy.
You will perform better at work if you start each day with slow
stretches. These warm-ups let you ease comfortably into your
workday and help you avoid injuries.
Leg and Back Warm-Up
1. Prop one foot on a chair or a stool for support
2. Take a deep breath
3. Ease forward slowly—keep your back slightly curved
4. Blow slowly outward as you ease forward to a seven count
5. Repeat seven times
6. Switch and do the same with the other foot
1. Stand with your feet about 12 inches apart
2. Support the small of your back with your hands
3. Hold your stomach in firmly and take a deep breath
4. Arch backward—bend your head and neck as you go,
blowing air out slowly for seven counts
5. Repeat seven times