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You Say Tomato, I Say Hazard!

By Angela Unsworth

Recently, a friend of mine slipped and fell on a tomato that was on the ground at work.

Image credit: Google images

Image credit: Google images

That might seem to be a common thing found on the floor if she worked in a restaurant, but she doesn’t. She works at a zoo. It made me think about what kinds of dangers can pop up in the most unlikely places. It’s important to be aware of yourself and your environment at work. If you see something on the ground, such as a spill or something that could potentially be slipped on, stop and clean it up. Another person may not be able to see it and you could be preventing a workplace accident.

Her story also reminded me of a few dangerous situations I experienced at my first job. I worked at a coffee shop and on each shift we had to mop the floor. As you might imagine, some shifts were crazy busy and to make sure the floor got cleaned was no easy feat. On top of that, staff were walking quickly to fill orders. Rushing around on a wet floor is not the safest thing to do. I remember one time a coworker was carrying a tray of donuts and she slipped and fell on the wet floor. Donuts flew into the air while she went in the opposite direction.

Image credit: Google images.

Image credit: Google images.

Luckily, she was okay, but that could have had a different ending. What if she had been carrying hot coffee?

Hmm, carrying hot coffee…that reminds me of the time I fell on that same floor.

I had just poured a coffee and was chatting to my customer as I walked with it to the counter. One moment I was up, the next I was down. Somehow I managed to hold that coffee aloft, and didn’t spill a drop. I felt bizarrely proud of myself. I attribute my balancing circus skills to the fact that I’ve grown up in Alberta and we learn at an early age to maintain our balance on slippery surfaces with our annual eight months of winter.

But, even with our skills it’s always better to err on the safe side. There are many ways that these dangers could be averted.

1) Wait until it’s slower to mop the floor.

2) If you can’t wait and have to mop the floor right away, have another coworker follow after you with a dry mop to soak up the water.

3) Make sure you place signage everywhere the floor is wet, so your coworkers and customers know to be extra careful.

4) Put down dry mats so people have an opportunity to step on something that won’t test their inherited Albertan balance.

Beyond a few simple measures you can take to make your workplace safer, don’t forget the tale of the tomato hazard. Stay aware at work. Slips and falls aren’t limited to restaurants. If you see something, say something. If you can pick it up, then do!

Do you have any stories about slips and falls at your workplace? Leave a comment or tweet us @HeadsUpAB to let us know!

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