*Cleanzine-logo-10a.jpgCleanzine: your weekly cleaning and hygiene industry newsletter 13th June 2024 Issue no. 1118

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US National Safety Month: time to ensure worker safety

* US-National-Safety-Month.jpgSince its establishment in 1996, the National Safety Council of the US has designated June as National Safety Month. This initiative aims to heighten awareness about safety and health risks, specifically focusing on reducing workplace deaths and injuries.

And no wonder: According to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, there was a 5.7% increase in fatal work-related injuries in 2022 compared to 2021. Further, 5,486 people lost their lives due to workplace accidents in 2022.

As Michael Wilson, CEO and president of Afflink, home of the independent distributor in the US, aptly puts it: "This has been a serious issue for years; we need to find new ways to address this situation, especially when it comes to slip-and-fall accidents."

According to the National Safety Council, "slips and falls on the same [floor] level are a leading cause of preventable workplace injuries. They have been a leading cause of workplace injury for many years."

To help prevent slip-and-fall accidents, Michael encourages building managers to have independent distributors conduct a floorcare audit.

This comprehensive assessment involves thoroughly inspecting the facility's floor surfaces, identifying potential hazards, and recommending solutions to mitigate them.

It should:

- Reveal where there are unexpected changes in the floor surface.
- Note dangerous transition areas between floor surfaces that can lead to a slip or fall.
- Identify grease and oil build-up on floors, which can attach to shoe bottoms and spread throughout a facility.
- Suggest where high-performance matting is needed, (high-performance matting captures and holds moisture, grease, and oil, preventing it from spreading).
- Point out areas that are poorly lit.
- Determine if the floor is being cleaned properly.

"A clean floor is a safer floor," adds Michael. "To ensure this, use automatic scrubbers instead of mops and buckets wherever possible. Automatic scrubbers are more efficient and effective in removing soil and spills, reducing the risk of slips and falls."

Further, he says some floors should not have a finish applied while others are safer with a floor finish applied" An astute distributor or building manager can help determine which is best.

"The floor audit will address all these issues and also suggest more environmentally responsible ways to keep floors clean and safe, preventing slip-and-fall accidents and protecting the environment at the same time."

Quick tips to prevent slip and fall accidents in the workplace:

- Scan the work area for potential hazards before carrying or moving anything.
- If walking over a slippery surface, don't step, shuffle. This will increase your stability.
- Check out wearable fall prevention devices that help prevent falls.
- Ensure step ladders have a locking device.
- Clean up spills immediately; if unable to clean up spills, surround them with warning cones.
- Never stand on a chair to reach for something high - get a ladder or step stool.
- Address damaged hard floor surfaces and carpets.
- Don't carry packages or boxes above your shoulders.
- If carrying heavy boxes up or down stairs, place both feet on each step before taking the next step. This helps maintain balance.


30th May 2024

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