By JOHN BOUTIN, Watervliet Arsenal Safety Office, Watervliet, N.Y. October 31, 2012
That person just fell and landed on his back with the shelving unit on top of him. Not only did he hurt himself, he injured several other shoppers as well. It's no laughing matter when folks refuse to take the time to ask for help. While this scenario is hypothetical, but I think most of you can relate. Here's an actual incident I witnessed firsthand:
One night, I heard a commotion outside my house. When I went to investigate, I saw my neighbor's father-in-law lying on the ground and rushed to help him. It didn't take long to realize that he'd been drinking and tripped on the sidewalk leading to my neighbor's house. With its uneven sections of concrete, that sidewalk was an accident waiting to happen. And even though the father-in-law had walked that path hundreds of time before without incident, the combination of factors that night weren't in his favor.Fortunately, he wasn't seriously injured.
On a different occasion, I watched another neighbor almost become a slip, trip and fall victim. This time it was winter and there was ice and snow on the ground. All the neighbors had cleared off the sidewalks in front of their homes except this woman. When she came out of her house, she went for a ride, sliding down her sidewalk. She was lucky and didn't fall. However, if she would've just taken the time to clear her walkway, she probably wouldn't have had a close call.
I believe most people have an "it-won't happen-to-me" mindset when it comes to slips, trips and
falls. The potential for these types of accidents around the house are avoidable if individuals take the time to identify and fix hazards. The same goes for the workplace. Soldiers, Civilians, supervisors and subordinates alike should be cognizant of their surroundings and take ownership of their personal safety.
Did You Know?
In fiscal 2011, Department of the Army Civilian's slips, trips and falls accidents cost the Army $47,860,176. From fiscal 2006 through 2011, there were seven reported Class A slips, trips and falls accidents involving Soldiers. Of those, three resulted in fatal injuries. For information on workplace hazards and how to reduce the risk of work-related injuries, visit https://safety.army.mil/soh/INDUSTRIALSAFETY/tabid/369/Default.aspx.