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Legend of the fall

SUMMARY:

WorkSafeBC issues sobering stats on Slips, Trips & Falls - PLUS - a free footwear assessment template


October 27, 2023

Actsafe hosted WorkSafeBC presenters this month for the annual Motion Picture/Live Event 2024 Rate Consultation. An insightful conversation about cost and rate trends, premium rate drivers, experience incentives, and injury trends. My inner Safety Nerd was happier than I should probably admit, but amidst the bar graphs and trend lines were some sobering stats on Slips, Trips & Falls.


Despite overall downward trends in injury rates, Footwear-related injury claims (slips-trips-falls) accounted for 24% of all film injury claims by COUNT, and 30% of all injury claim COSTS (2018-2022 data). These figures don’t account for the large proportion of foot/ankle injuries where a physician or physio (medical aid) are not sought, meaning footwear-related incidents are the most common injury type, and account for fully 30% of claim costs.

In short… they’re frequent, costly, and largely preventable.


In recent years, WorkSafeBC has made it a priority to improve awareness & reduce incident rates for Trips, Slips and Falls. Assessing & educating film crews on the importance of proper footwear aligns Productions with this directive.


Some ACTION ITEMS to help your production improve crew safety and lower claim costs related to footwear:

  1. Run a Footwear Assessment during Prep

The goal: Each department should consider its work-flow, job-related risks, and the following factors related to foot & ankle safety:

  • slipping;

  • tripping;

  • uneven terrain;

  • abrasion;

  • ankle protection and foot support

  • potential for musculoskeletal injury

  • crushing potential;

  • temperature extremes;

  • corrosive substances;

  • puncture hazards;

  • electrical shock;

  • any other recognizable hazard.


HOD’s should identify the various conditions their crews work under, differentiating appropriate footwear for varying levels of risk. For example, art department work generally won’t require boots or steel toe-caps, but on certain locations - under varying weather conditions or working around heavy equipment or large animals - more robust footwear may be appropriate.


- FREE RESOURCE -

Sometimes it’s helpful to start with a template to prime the pump of safety awareness.

Feel free to use the linked template - modify & edit according to your preferences, address it at your next Joint Health & Safety Cmte meeting, and send out to your HOD’s to customize for your production.

Footwear Assessment_template 2023
.pdf
Download PDF • 317KB

2. Identity, eliminate, substitute or delineate Slip/Trip hazards - on the stage and on location. This should include consideration of weather conditions, access routes, lighting conditions, etc.


PRO-TIP - An often overlooked hazard is our Cable Mats. While helpful in protecting LX cables from foot & vehicle traffic, these mats tend to be trip-hazards themselves, particularly when placed in doorways, tents, high traffic zones, or areas with poor lighting / visibility.

Consider also whether the cable mat will be visible after dark, or how to improve visibility in the area.

A Substitution control would be to swap regular cable mats for ACCESSIBLE (wheel-chair friendly) versions. These have a much lower grade, and are much less likely to cause a crewmember to stumble. While your Genny-Op / Cable Truck may not be happy about the lack of storage on their trucks, they can usually find a way to bring along extra Accessible mats for higher risk locations.


3. Trailer steps throughout circus are a frequent cause of slip/trip/fall injuries. Ensure steps are properly levelled & adjusted at each location, lighting is adequate, remind cast & crew to use handrails and work in partners when carrying gear in-n-out of trailers.


4. Use Safety Mtgs as an opportunity to remind crew about appropriate footwear, especially in light of weather changes or known hazards on a particular set, or when the company is shuffling to a new set which may involve different slip/trip hazards.


5. Toolbox talks should include regular reminders about proper lifting techniques for heavy objects, or those that present a rolling risk.


6. Be sure to consider proximity to rolling objects (carts), large animals or uneven surfaces that may trigger more robust footwear for shooting crew.


7. Make special arrangements for CAST or BACKGROUND requiring open-toe footwear.

In the case of cast or BG requiring open-toed footwear for camera, production retains the responsibility to ensure safe access to/from set. This may require switching footwear on set if close-toe shoes are required for access. For example, on an exterior location over uneven terrain where cast or BG are required to wear open-toe footwear (heels, sandals, etc), Costumes & Locations should coordinate to ensure safe transport for cast & crew - or that appropriate footwear are worn while negotiating uneven terrain or exterior weather conditions until arrival at set where open-toe footwear can be worn.


8. Involve your Joint Health & Safety Cmte at every step - and have them review and approve the footwear assessment before posting on the Safety Boards.


9. And lastly, model safe footwear to your crew. If the Safety Advisor/Consultant/Manager is walking through the Construction Mill without CSA-Steel Toe footwear, that probably doesn’t send the right message to your crew. Guaranteed, however, it does send a message.

On the bright side - at least it's Blundstone season.


Hope that’s helpful. A few simple steps can make a significant impact on crew safety, endurance and happiness.


Stay safe. Work well. Walk humbly.



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