Slips, Trips, and Falls

Source: pixpack - 123RF

Slips, trips, and falls are among the most common in work-place accidents.

Employees, employers, and even worksite visitors are put at risk for serious injury when slip, trip, and fall hazards aren’t noticed and fixed in parking lots, walkways, stairwells, and other work locations.

Fortunately, with proper training, housekeeping techniques, and encouraging a safety culture in the work place, you can spot, report, and correct these hazards before someone gets hurt.

Source: Stephen Finn – 123RF

Common locations for falls include doorways, ramps, cluttered hallways, ladders, and stairs.

In the workplace, costs to the employer are significant, resulting in:

  • Loss of productivity & business;
  • Increased industrial insurance premiums; and
  • Costs associated with training a replacement worker.

To the worker, costs can be in the form of:

  • Lost wages & out-of-pocket expenses;
  • Pain;
  • Temporary or permanent disability;
  • Reduced quality of life;
  • Depression; or even
  • Death.

Slips, trips, and falls at the workplace are preventable by adopting the following procedures:

  • Design processes to prevent potential exposures to slip and trip hazards;
  • Maintain clear, tidy work areas free of clutter;
  • Follow safe walk practices and routes;
  • Wear proper footwear with good traction; and
  • Use techniques than can minimize fall injuries.

At home:

  • Secure electrical and phone cords out of traffic areas;
  • Remove small throw rugs or use non-skid mats to keep them from slipping;
  • Remove tripping hazards (paper, boxes, toys, clothes, and shoes) from stairs and walkways;
  • Periodically check the condition of walkways and steps, and repair damages immediately;
  • Never stand on a chair, table, or other surface on wheels; and
  • Clean up all spills immediately.

Slips and trips result from some kind of unintended or unexpected change in the contact between the feet and the ground or walking surface. This shows that good housekeeping, quality of walking surfaces (flooring), selection of proper footwear, and appropriate pace of walking are critical for preventing fall accidents.