Slip sliding away

Editor's note: This is part one of a two-part series about slip hazards. Part two will appear in the December issue.

When a person is walking and suddenly slips, what does he do? Generally, he tries to make a brisk recovery or at least stand up quickly and brush off before looking around to see whether anyone noticed. Although people usually are embarrassed when they slip, there are reasons (other than clumsiness) for slips. Knowing these reasons can help roofing contractors and their employees avoid what may be slightly embarrassing, as well as painful or even disastrous.

Often, there are no detrimental results for workers or their companies when someone slips. As mentioned, a person hustles to regain his footing, is relieved if no co-workers saw the incident and gets back to work. But a surprising amount of slips result in injuries.

Neil Adams, an ergonomics and safety-management consultant, concludes from his research that 50 percent of falls or near falls that result in injuries are the consequences of slips. Adams also says slips and falls are the third-leading cause of disabling workers in U.S. workplaces. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 22 percent of slips and falls resulted in workers being away from their jobs for more than one month, which can have significant ramifications on any size business.