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Preventing Slips, Trips, and Falls in the Workplace

| Chaizong Lor

Slips, trips, and falls cause nearly 700 fatalities per year and many more injurious accidents in the workplace according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Slips

Slips can be caused by wet surfaces, spills, or weather hazards like ice or snow. Slips are more likely to occur when you hurry or run, wear the wrong kind of shoes, or don’t pay attention to where you’re walking. You can help avoid slips by following these safety precautions:

  • Practice safe walking skills. Take short steps on slippery surfaces to keep your center of balance under you and point your feet slightly outward.
  • Clean up or report spills right away. Even minor spills can be very dangerous.
  • Don’t let grease accumulate at your workplace.
  • Be extra cautious on smooth surfaces such as newly waxed floors. Also be careful walking on loose carpeting.

Trips

Trips Hazard

 

Trips occur whenever your foot hits an object and you are moving with enough momentum to be thrown off balance. To prevent trip hazards:

  • Make sure you can see where you are walking.
  • Keep walking and working areas well lit, especially at night.
  • Keep the workplace clean and tidy.
  • Store materials and supplies in the appropriate storage areas.
  • Properly maintain walking areas, and alert appropriate authorities regarding potential maintenance related hazards.

Falls

To avoid falls, consider the following measures:

  • Don’t jump off landings or loading docks. Use the stairs.
  • Repair or replace stairs or handrails that are loose or broken.
  • Keep passageways and aisles clear of clutter and well lit.
  • Wear shoes with appropriate non-slip soles.

Employee Training

There are no formal training requirements for slips, trips, and falls. However, you must train your employees to recognize and avoid unsafe conditions, which could include the hazards listed here.

Tips to Stay Safe

Spills, ice, snow, rain, loose mats, rugs, and stepladders are some of the common causes of slips, trips, and falls. In addition, poor lighting and clutter can cause injuries such as sprains, strains, bruises, bumps, fractures, scratches, and cuts.  Here a few ways of prevention for these incidents:

  • Focusing on the task of walking and being aware of your surroundings. Looking for stairways, curbs, speed bumps, changes in surfaces or elevations can all prevent these incidents.
  • Using ladders or stepladders properly and ensuring they are setup properly before use is critical to avoid falls from height.
  • Parking lots can have many different hazards, curbs, gravel, oil patches or a combination with the inclement weather. If we are not aware of what others are doing and where we are walking, then slips, trips, and falls can occur.
  • Using caution when walking, take your time.
  • Reporting all unsafe conditions to your supervisor or RMSS in a timely manner.
  • Wear the appropriate footwear for your working environment.