We’ve all fallen, slipped, or tripped at some point, whether at school, when walking the dog or inside our own houses. But unfortunately, it only takes one misstep while working at heights to realize that you’ve fallen and gravely harmed yourself.
Yes, it is easy to catch your foot on a stray cable or lose your footing when strolling along wet areas.
Slipping and tripping are among the most prevalent causes of workplace injuries, even though it may be challenging to comprehend that anything as seemingly innocent as a loose mat or abandoned object in a walkway can result in serious injuries.
You can use the information in this article and the expertise of Roar Engineering Slips, Trips, and Falls experts as a starting point for developing strategies to reduce slips and falls, but remember that these precautions won’t be effective unless everyone joins in.
Slips, Trips, and Falls: What Is a “Slip”?
A slip occurs when a person’s feet cannot maintain good contact or grip on walking surfaces.
In most cases, the presence of water or ice on the floor is to blame when someone slips. However, beads or other similarly shaped objects that fall to the floor might also be a tripping hazard.
Sometimes tripping and falling result from a foot losing its hold on the ground and sliding outward and upward. The back of the head, neck, back, and hip are common locations for slip-related injuries.
Maintaining dry and clean flooring is the best way to reduce the risk of slips and falls. When this isn’t practicable, like in the case of a leak, the “Wet Floor” hazard sign can go a long way toward warning people of potential danger.
Common causes of slipping include:
- As part of work activities, spills from drinks or liquids, such as paint, can occur
- Cleaning leaves behind puddles or patches of wetness.
- Wet and muddy trails from outside after rain
- A mat or rug that is loose
- Substandard flooring
- Inadequate hygienic practices
Safety Steps to Prevent Slips
To prevent slips in the workplace, here are a few measures you can take.
Working with contaminants: When working with liquids, use drip trays to keep them from spilling on the floor. When dealing with containers, use lids and fill lines and when working with hoses, use screens to prevent splashes and overspray.
Preventing access: Workers should clean after business hours to avoid exposing customers or employees to wet flooring. However, employers should restrict access to problematic areas if this is not possible. In addition, you should keep a minimum number of people in the regions that handle contaminants.
Design and Material: Floors must be constructed from designed materials to prevent slipping. To avoid wearing down the material’s anti-slip property, you should only use cleaning equipment that manufacturers developed exclusively for that material.
Cleaning activities: If you cannot block access to the cleaned entrance areas, you should avoid leaving puddles behind. After the work is done, let the floor air dry or use a dry mop to speed up the drying process. Don’t forget to put up a wet floor hazard sign.
Shoes: When working with hazardous contaminants or in wet or dusty surroundings, employees should wear appropriate non-slip shoes designed for the hazards that are unique to their work activities.
Good housekeeping practices: Immediately mop up any spills that have occurred (if it is a chemical spill you cannot handle, contact someone qualified immediately). Put liquids away in cupboards, and make sure to report any flooring or equipment that is loose, broken, or old.
Anti-slip equipment: Utilize anti-slip tape, mats, shoes, covers, and grating in parts of the premises that have the potential to become slippery and pose a risk to employees. This is especially important for locations such as entranceways and staircases.
Wet, cold, and dark weather: During the winter, when there might be rain or snow, walking surfaces might be muddy or icy, and there is less daylight to see. It is critical to ensure that pathways have sufficient drainage and that leaves, snow, and ice are regularly cleaned from walkways.
Lighting: People won’t be able to perceive potential dangers if the lighting is lacking or poorly placed. So, ensure all routes and rooms are well-lit with natural or artificial light.
Slips, Trips, and Falls: What Is a “Trip”?
People tend to trip when their foot gets caught on anything, which causes them to lose their balance and fall. The result is that the individual may fall forward, striking a hard surface or object, injuring themselves.
Cables that saunter across the floor are a common tripping hazard, but so is anything as innocent as shoes on the ground or the curled edge of a mat.
Injuries or abrasions to the front of the head or face, fractures of the hands and arms, and injuries to the elbow and knee are frequent injuries people may suffer from tripping and falling.
Once more, it is simple to avoid trips at work by making sure that all walkways are clear of obstacles, that all pathways are well-lit, and that any uneven or broken surfaces are fenced off or marked.
The following factors can create tripping hazards:
- Poor maintenance, such as leaving obstructions around walkways
- A trailing cable from a machine or equipment, including a fixed unit (e.g., computer) and a portable unit (e.g., hoover)
- Carpet that is poorly installed or has loose flooring and mats.
- Bad design of the building
- Watch out for exposed electrical cords, and if you find any, get in touch with an expert in Electrical Engineering as soon as possible to help you fix the issue ( Roar engineering team is an Expert in Electrical Engineering, and we can help you deal with your problem as quickly as possible)
Safety Steps to Prevent Trips
To prevent trips in the workplace, here are a few measures you can take.
Design of premises: If possible, steer away from buildings with single stairs and abrupt shifts in floor level. However, if this is impossible, label any such features properly. Also, ensure that there are sufficient plug sockets in the building area so that cables do not have to be trailed over the floor.
Installing flooring: Ensure the carpets and other materials are installed correctly so there are no bumps and no spots that are not level. Please report any locations where the carpeting, lino, or laminate has become uneven due to wear and tear.
Trailing cables: Plug the equipment as close as possible to where it has to be. Employees should use cable tidies and cover strips when personnel cannot avoid trailing cables for stationary equipment.
Organize work activities: Avoid rushing or crowding, ensure personnel know how to handle equipment safely, and restrict access to locations where temporary trailing cables are unavoidable.
Good housekeeping: Notify management of any mats or carpeting that have frayed or curled edges, store equipment in appropriate storage places, clear obstacles away from pathways and stairwells, and dispose of or recycle rubbish on the premises.
Manual handling: Employers must organize tasks to guarantee safety and utilize correct manual handling procedures. A person carrying a load might not notice an obstruction, which could lead to severe injuries if they trip over it and either drop the load on themselves or another person as they fall.
Lighting: People cannot perceive possible risks with poor lighting. Ensure all rooms and corridors have adequate lighting from natural or artificial sources.
Slips, Trips, and Falls: What Is a Fall?
Fall incidents occur when someone is working at a height above ground level and loses their footing, resulting in falling to the ground.
The thought of someone working on a ladder or a roof is what comes to mind when you hear this, but the truth is that most severe or fatal fall injuries are from fall incidents that occur at a lower height than the head.
Sometimes, all it takes to get a severe injury is to strike one’s head forcefully or land on one’s leg at an awkward angle.
The potential for injury from falls is an important factor that everyone must consider. Fall-related accidents are one of the most common mishaps in the workplace and account for many serious injuries.
Fall Hazards may be created by:
- Incorrectly using a ladder or using an unstable one.
- Using an unsafe mobile elevated work platform (MEWP)
- Working close to an excavation site, an opening, or a hole in the ground
- Working at height without safety gear, e.g., harnesses
- Accessing heights with improper platforms, such as chairs and tables
- The surrounding hazards, such as high winds, overhead power lines, and other obstructions at a height, could throw off a person’s balance
Safety Steps to Prevent Falls
The following steps will help you avoid falls at work.
Safety equipment: Use safety nets and airbags beneath elevated work areas, and make sure everyone is wearing fall arrest harnesses. Use MEWPs, scaffolding, and podium stairs as necessary. Remember that the equipment used to lift people must adhere to standards.
Ladder safety: Ladders and stepladders should only be used for 30 minutes before resting on a solid, level platform. Don’t overreach, don’t use the top three rungs or the platform, and don’t pull more than 10 kg up a ladder. Additionally, check that the locking mechanisms are fully engaged and that the ladder is leaning against a stable, solid surface.
Good work practices: Never use a chair or any other improper platform for reaching heights. Always use the right kind of ladder and take safety precautions.
Instruction and training: Follow all guidelines and training sessions for safely working at heights. Use your common sense and stop working if the situation is unsafe, such as when there are strong winds or a shaky ladder.
Barriers: Barriers, such as guardrails on scaffolding, mobile elevated work platforms (MEWPs), and fences surrounding excavation sites, must be installed to protect workers from falling.
Space: When working at heights, ensure enough open space nearby because each platform needs a certain amount of room. The likelihood of losing balance and falling will increase if you have to duck or twist.
Fall protection equipment maintenance: Verify that tools used for working at heights, such as MEWPs and ladders, are installed safely, functional, and error-free. Perform pre-use inspections on the equipment before using it.
Employer and Employees’ Responsibilities Regarding Slips, Trips, and Falls:
It is the employer’s responsibility to check the following factors.
- Ensure that the employer takes all reasonable precautions for the protection of the workers under the circumstances
- Ensure the health and safety of the workers. Employers are responsible for providing workers with information, instructions, and supervision.
- Workers should be aware of any slip, trip, or fall hazards while working and when handling, storing, and using any devices or equipment that may present risks.
- Identify and assess the risks associated with slip, trip, and fall hazards specific to a given job.
- Ensure that the control measures are working as intended.
There are several responsibilities that workers have to handle as well.
- Inform the employer or supervisor of known slip, trip, and fall hazards promptly
- Follow instructions on how to use or wear any equipment, protective devices, or clothing your employer requires you to wear.
- Upon becoming aware of an absence or defect in any piece of equipment or protective device potentially dangerous to themselves or others, employees should immediately report it to the employer or supervisor.
Conclusion on Slips, Trips, and Falls
It is possible to control or eliminate most slip, trip, and fall hazards through careful assessment and Slip and Falls – Measurement in the Field. Once you have dealt with the common hazards, you can apply the same risk assessment and control principles to the more complex slip and trip hazards specific to your business.
It doesn’t matter how the threats change. The principles of control do not. Contact Our Expert Team – Arbitration and Litigation if you face court due to an unlikely work incident.
What are the five steps to preventing slips and falls?
- It would help if you walked steadily, not run.
- Make sure you are on firm ground and maintain your balance.
- Do not walk on conveyors, chutes, and slides.
- Make sure you look before you step.
- As conditions change, adjust accordingly.
How do I stop slip trips?
Clean up any accidents to make any damp spots or spills visible immediately. Clear the route and maintain the path clear at all times. Maintain the illumination in offices and hallways, and replace burned-out bulbs and broken switches.
What is the best way to avoid tripping at the workplace?
Maintain a clutter- and obstruction-free walking space. Ensure that the flooring is protected and preserved. Always rely on pre-existing lighting fixtures that offer adequate illumination for the job at hand. You should use a flashlight if you go into a room with no light.
What causes slips, trips, and falls?
There are several potential causes for trips and falls. Some of these factors are the frequency of cleaning, the materials used, the footwear, the brightness of lights, the color contrast of walls and doors, and the presence of any obstacles that could cause a person to trip.