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Saying Good Bye to Fall as we Slip into Winter

The Education sector in BC as a whole has one of the highest rates of falling compared to other work sectors. The results of this are twofold. Firstly, our colleagues are injured and are sometimes left with disabilities or ongoing issues such as severe concussion and permanent soft tissue injury. Secondly, the insurance rates paid by our employer are higher than the norm and that is money we would all rather see spent in our schools. While we assume that most falls occur involving multi-levels, such as stairwells or teachers standing of top of chairs to put up posters and student work when they should be using a ladder, the majority of falls occur on the same level.

There are things we can do to prevent these accidents, both individually and collectively. On the simplest level, we can slow down and think preventatively – especially in the winter months when our hallways and parking lots are often slippery. We can think about our footwear choices. We can choose to make more trips with fewer things in our arms. We can work with our Health and Safety Committees to identify and remediate challenges related to congestion and stairwell usage. We should also be reporting “near misses”, so that our colleagues do not find themselves victim to the same situation only hours or days later.

Lastly, we should be talking about Health & Safety and accident prevention as a staff and on an individual basis. If you see someone rushing down a hallway floor covered in rainwater with their arms full of books, papers and bags – think prevention and do what you can to remediate the situation before an injury occurs.

Thank you to Brett Gabelman, VSTA Health & Safety Chair, for this information.