Preventing injuries starts at home, work
July 7, 2011
- In part two of a two-part series, DIS looks at walking surfaces
- Accidents can happen while doing the simplest of tasks
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- Every year, safety professionals across the Army look at accident statistics to predict what trends are developing, both on and off post.
Not surprisingly, the causes of most accidents remain the same, year after year.
“The biggest cause of injuries, both at home and at work, is slips, trips and falls,” said Sammy Houseberg, director, Directorate of Installation Safety, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii. “By understanding these primary accident areas, we could reduce many serious accidents and injuries.”
“How many times have you fallen while doing a simple task around the house or at work?” he asked. “What caused the fall? Was it clutter in a walkway? Was the walking surface wet or uneven? Or was it a fall from a ladder or an improvised platform like a desk or chair?
“These are the leading causes of most of our workplace injuries and many of the injuries at home,” Houseberg said. “We all should take a few minutes, each day, to keep all of the walkways at home and at work dry and free from clutter.”
Bill Maxwell, safety specialist, DIS, recommends leaving a two-foot-wide walkway in a cluttered garage to avoid injuries and prevent falls.
“Falls happen frequently and may come from improper use of a ladder, failing to use three points of contact when mounting and dismounting a vehicle, or (they may come) from unguarded drop-offs such as a loading dock,” Maxwell added. “Before climbing any ladder or vehicle, be sure you know where your hand and footholds are and how to keep your body centered on the ladder.
“Don’t carry objects in your hands as you climb or descend, and if near a drop-off, never turn your back toward the edge,” he continued. “Be aware at all times.”
“Most of our documented accidents were preventable mishaps … had the person taken the care to know what the hazards were, make a plan for the risks and learn key skills needed to do the task,” Houseberg said.