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Trips, Slips and Falls

This month’s safety topic: Slips Trips and falls

When you think of workplace accidents, slips, trips and falls may not be the first thing that comes to mind. The truth is, this is the second most common cause of workplace injury, and 20-30% of workplace falls result in moderate to severe injuries like deep bruising, broken bones or concussions. In fact, according to OSHA slips trips and falls cause nearly 700 workplace fatalities a year.

As silly or as “common sense” as training on slips trips and falls may seem, even long-time employees can get in a hurry, get distracted or get complacent. Instances like these can and do happen, and not only cause painful injuries but in some instances, unfortunately cost lives.

Some common tripping hazards can include:

  • Uncovered hoses, cables, wires, or cords across walking surfaces
  • Obstacles or clutter on walking surfaces
  • Furniture drawers/door left open.
  • Unmarked steps or ramps
  • Damaged or irregular steps
  • Rumpled carpets or mats (or curled edges)
  • Thresholds, gaps, and other irregularities in walking surfaces
  • Speed bumps and curb drops

Some slip, trip, and fall prevention measures are permanent, including:
  • Adequate lighting
  • Handrails
  • Slip-resistant surfaces in high-risk areas
  • Effective drainage, ventilation, and other methods to keep surfaces dry.
  • Marking the edges of steps or elevation changes

Other methods for preventing slips, trips, and falls require ongoing participation from workers, including:
  • Proper footwear
  • Safe work practices
  • Frequent cleaning
  • Good housekeeping practices that keep walkways free of clutter
  • Noticing and marking slip or trip hazards

Falls not only occur from walking surfaces, but also occur at elevated heights. Most commonly in this industry, ladders. A few quick tips for ladder safety are:
  • Choose the right ladder for the job. Make sure it is the proper material for the location you will be using it, that it has the correct heigh and weight threshold for your intended job.
  • Always inspect your ladder before use, and make sure it is in good repair with no loose, broken, or missing pieces.
  • Maintain three points of contact while ascending and descending the ladder, and always face the ladder while climbing or descending.
  • Do not overreach from side to side. This will cause your center of gravity to shift, which makes a fall more likely.

Slip, trip, and fall prevention relies on the ability of each person to recognize slipping and tripping hazards, understand how to mitigate them, and know how to use safe work practices to minimize their risk.

Stay Alert and stay safe,

Sarah Templin

Safety and Compliance