More than 1 million people go to the emergency room each year due to accidents caused by slips and falls. Besides the great economic loss, these incidents can lead to individual and family pain and suffering. In most of cases, the slip or fall could have been prevented.

What is needed is to prevent workplace slips, trips and falls:

  • Understand how fall accidents happen
  • Identify problem areas
  • Eliminate or minimize fall hazards

How do Falls Happen?

Most falls result from slips and trips.

Slips happen where there is too little friction or traction between your footwear and the walking surface. Common causes of slips include:

  • Spills
  • Wet or greasy floors
  • Dry floors with wood dust or powder
  • Polished or freshly waxed floors
  • Uneven walking surfaces
  • Ramps and gang planks without skid-resistant surfaces
  • Weather hazards – rain, sleet, ice, snow, hail, frost
  • Loose, unanchored rugs or mats
  • Flooring or other walking surfaces that have differing degrees of traction
  • Shoes with wet, muddy, greasy or oily soles
  • Metal surfaces – dock plates, construction plates
  • Sloped walking surfaces

Trips happen when your foot unintentionally strikes or hits an object causing you to lose balance and fall. Common causes of trips are:

  • Obstructed view when carrying or pushing something
  • Poor lighting
  • Uneven walking surfaces
  • Open desk or file cabinet drawers
  • Transitions from one floor type to another
  • Missing or uneven floor tiles and bricks
  • Wrinkled carpeting
  • Damaged or irregular steps
  • Steps with no handrails
  • Clutter
  • Uncovered electrical cords or cables
  • Damaged ladder steps

How to Indentify Problem Areas?

On a standard schedule, assign a supervisor or your safety team to methodically move through the facility – all indoor and outside areas – specifically focused on looking for anything that can cause someone to slip, trip or fall. Any area identified as at risk should be documented and a remedial action(s) assigned / scheduled. As needed, such areas should immediately have warning signs posted and/or be blocked off from access.

    How to Prevent Falls?

    Both slips and trips result from some a kind of unintended or unexpected change in contact between your feet and the ground or floor you are walking on. Good housekeeping, quality walking surfaces, clear walkways, proper lighting, appropriate footwear and individual behavior are critical factors for preventing fall accidents.

    In addition to falls resulting from slips and trips, falls can also easily happen at an open hole, deck edge or loading dock edge, or other major level-change area. Adding guard rails or other blocking measures can prevent an accidental fall off an edge.