6 Tips To Help Prevent Slips, Trips and Falls

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, slips, trips and falls make up the majority of general industry accidents, which account for:

  • 15% of all accidental deaths per year, the second-leading cause behind motor vehicles
  • About 25% of all reported injury claims per fiscal year
  • More than 95 million lost work days per year — about 65% of all work days lost

Slips and trips happen when there is a loss of traction between the shoe and the surface you are walking on, or when your feet come in contact with a stationary or moveable object that may lead to falling.

These are a few common situations that may cause slips, trips or falls

  • Wet or greasy floors
  • Dry floors with wood dust or powder
  • Uneven walking surfaces
  • Polished or freshly waxed floors
  • Loose flooring, carpeting or mats
  • Transition from one floor type to another
  • Missing or uneven floor tiles and bricks
  • Damaged or irregular steps; no handrails
  • Sloped walking surfaces
  • Shoes with wet, muddy, greasy or oily soles
  • Clutter
  • Electrical cords or cables
  • Open desk or file cabinet drawers
  • Damaged ladder steps
  • Ramps and gang planks without skid-resistant surfaces
  • Metal surfaces — dock plates, construction plates
  • Weather hazards — rain, sleet, ice, snow, hail, frost
  • Wet leaves or pine needles

Here are 6 tips to help you create a safer working environment for your employees

1. Create Good Housekeeping Practices

Safety and housekeeping go hand in hand.  If your facility’s housekeeping habits are poor, it may result in a higher amount of employee injuries and increasing insurance costs.  Proper housekeeping should be part of the daily routine

Here are 3 steps you should follow

  • Plan ahead – Know what needs to be done and who is going to do it
  • Assign responsibilities – Assign a specific group or group of people to clean up.  You should be cleaning up after your own personal messes
  • Implement a program – Establish procedures as part of the daily routine

2. Reduce Wet or Slippery Surfaces

Walking surfaces are one of the most reported areas of injury according to state agencies.  The most frequent types of surfaces where these injuries happen are:

  • Parking lots
  • Sidewalks (or lack thereof)
  • Food preparation areas
  • Shower stalls in residential dorms
  • Floors in general

Traction on outdoor surfaces change considerably when weather conditions change.  They can then affect the indoor surfaces as moisture and debris are tracked in from pedestrian’s shoes.  When the weather changes outside make sure to:

  • Keep parking lots and sidewalks clean and repaired
  • Remove or treat snow and ice
  • Use adhesive striping material or anti-skid paint whenever possible

Inside your business you should:

  • Use moisture-absorbent mats that have backing material that will not slide on the floor
  • Display “Wet Floor” signs as needed
  • Use anti-skid adhesive tape in troublesome areas
  • Clean up spills immediately
  • Use proper area rugs or mats in food preparation areas

3. Avoid Creating Obstacles and Obstructions in Aisles and Walkways

Injuries can result from trips cause by obstacles, materials and equipment in aisles, hallways, entranceways and stairwells.

  • Keep all work areas, passageways, storerooms and service areas clean and organized
  • Avoid hanging cords, cables or air hoses across hallways or any aisle
  • Boxes, files, briefcases, portfolios, etc. should not be left in walkways
  • Encourage safe work practices
  • Conduct periodic inspections for slip and trip hazards

4. Create and Maintain Proper Lighting

Poor lighting in the workplace is associated with an increase in accidents

  • Use proper illumination in walkways, staircases, ramps, hallways, basements, construction areas and dock areas.
  • Keep work areas well lit and clean.
  • Always turn on the light when entering a dark room
  • Keep poorly lit areas clear of obstructions
  • Keep areas around light switches accessible
  • Repair fixtures, switches and cords immediately if they are broken

5. Wear Proper Shoes

Employees are expected to wear footwear that is appropriate for their work duties.  Whenever a fall-related injury is investigated, the footwear needs to be evaluated to see if it contributed to the incident. Shoelaces must be tied and the slickness of soles and type of heels worn also need to be inspected.

6. Control Individual Behavior

Common factors in many on the job injuries include

  • Taking shortcuts
  • Walking too fast or running when you are in a hurry
  • Not watching where you are going
  • Using a cell phone
  • Wearing sunglasses in low light areas
  • Carrying materials which obstruct your vision
  • Not using designated walkways

It is up to you to pay attention, stay alert and be in control of your surroundings at work.