Chances are, you have already experienced slipping, tripping, or falling at least once. However, it can happen several times if you work in a wet or greasy environment. Remember that slips, trips, and falls are among the most common causes of workplace injury. These injuries can be light bruises in the best case or heavy traumas such as a broken leg in the worst case.
Preventing slips, trips, and falls is not hard, but you must learn the best ways to reduce the risk of injury and create a safe environment for your employees.
In this article, we’re going to learn about seven helpful ways to prevent slips, trips, and falls. We encourage you to keep reading if you want to learn more.
What Is a Slip?
You slip when your feet don’t make enough contact with the surface you work or walk on. A lack of traction primarily causes workplace slips.
Weather hazards like ice or snow, wet surfaces, or slippery surfaces can cause slips. You’re more likely to slip if you run or hurry, wear the wrong shoe size, or don’t pay attention to where you’re going. Other common causes of slips include:
- Surfaces that are wet or oily
- Mats or pieces of equipment that are loose or unanchored
- Flooring that is not evenly tractioned
- Weather hazards
- Icy conditions
What Is a Trip?
If you are moving with enough momentum and your foot hits an object, you are likely to trip.
Many factors can cause a person to trip, such as fixed objects, uneven or broken surfaces, or obstacles in the pathway. The presence of loose carpets and rugs in the workplace, poorly lit spaces, and items left on the floor can all present a trip hazard.
Forward and outward momentum can cause a fall when a moving foot encounters an obstacle or object. Those who fall and trip may sustain injuries to their face, head, and hands, as well as knee and elbow injuries.
Common Causes of Trips
- Poor lighting
- Uneven floor surface
- Uncovered cables
- Obstructed view
- Wrinkled carpeting
- Unclosed bottom drawers
What Is a Fall?
Any workplace hazard that might cause accidental loss of balance or body support and lead to a fall is considered a fall hazard. Walking surfaces and work surfaces can all pose fall hazards. Your safety is at risk whenever you work at a height of four feet or more.
Falling can also occur as a result of either slipping or tripping. Let’s review each of them separately.
Slip and Fall
A slippery surface or something on the ground is the most common reason for someone to slip and fall. This type of fall results from losing one’s footing or contact with the ground. The majority of people slip and fall backward rather than forward. Injuries caused by this could affect the following areas:
- Back of the head
Trip and Fall
It usually happens when someone steps on something hard or fixed or does not step over it completely. As a result, people fall forward, so the injuries will be a bit different this time, affecting:
- Hand and arm
What Is the Difference Between Slips, Trips, and Falls?
Usually, people use the terms slips, trips, and falls interchangeably. However, there are some slight differences between them.
As you read above, slips are usually caused by wet or slippery surfaces or spilled items. Trips are caused by obstacles of some kind that cause you to stumble. And falling can happen while attempting to repair an electrical fixture or when an ironworker falls from a height of 60 feet above the ground.
Hence, it is crucial that your workforce and you are appropriately trained and prepared to reduce the chances of slipping, tripping, and falling to the minimum.
Note: If you’re interested in learning more about Slips and Falls – Measurement in the Field, check our guide and schedule a complimentary training session with Roar.
How to Prevent Slips, Trips, and Falls
Slips, trips, and falls are preventable with a few simple guidelines. Here are the most important ones.
1. Develop Good Housekeeping Guidelines
The importance of good housekeeping cannot be overstated. There is a direct correlation between safety and housekeeping. In a poorly maintained facility, employee injuries may increase, insurance costs may rise, and regulatory citations may result.
An organization that maintains a clean and well-organized facility will likely have an effective safety program.
Maintaining a proper housekeeping routine is essential. Workers should carry out this procedure daily as part of their daily duties. Here are three easy steps to create a housekeeping program that works.
Prepare in advance: Determine what needs to be done, who will do it, and how the work area should look after completion.
Assign roles: Cleaning up may need to be assigned to a specific person or group of workers, although each person should take responsibility for their own cleanup.
Develop your own procedure: Incorporate housekeeping procedures into your daily routine.
2. Maintain a Proper Lighting System
A proper lighting system at the office can help employees and customers avoid tripping over or falling off in hazardous areas. Darkness or shadows can often conceal steps or other hazards.
It is possible to reduce the risk of slipping and falling by installing proper lighting. Here are some practices you can do to maintain a proper lighting system.
- Properly light walkways, stairs, ramps, hallways, basements, construction areas, and docks
- Clean and illuminate your work area.
- When entering a darkened room, ensure the light is on first.
- Do not clutter or obstruct poorly lit walkways.
- Make sure light switches are easily accessible.
- In the event of a malfunctioning fixture, switch, or cord, repair it immediately.
3. Clear Your Stairways and Handrails Frequently.
Most workplaces have stairways as walking surfaces. There is a risk of serious injury or even death from falling down the stairs. Employers must provide employees with slip, trip, and fall prevention measures, and employees must use stairways properly, as directed.
As an employee, you should consider the following to prevent workplace accidents.
- Whenever you’re going up and down a staircase, use the handrail.
- Due to environmental conditions, stairway steps may accumulate ice, snow, or rain. Be careful about them.
- Keep the stairs clean and free of trash, debris, and anything else that could make them slippery to prevent slippery steps.
- Even temporarily, do not store items in stairways or landings.
- Ascend or descend the stairs one step at a time.
- Tie your shoes first if you are going up or down stairs.
- Walking with others while using the handrail and the stairs with care sets a good example.
- If you see spills or trash on the stairs, report it or clean it up.
- Any workplace stairway that lacks adequate lighting, whether indoors or outdoors, should be reported.
- Ensure you avoid running up and down the stairs or looking at your cell phone while walking.
As an employer, you are responsible for ensuring workplace stairs are safe, and employees are encouraged to report unsafe issues or potential hazards.
- Make sure there are no missing steps, loose handrails, corrosion, holes, grease, spills, or loose carpet on the stairways.
- Keep an eye out for doors opening on stairway platforms.
- Stairways should be adequately lit.
4. Wear Proper Footwear
Selecting proper footwear is critical to preventing fall incidents in workplaces with oily or wet floors or where workers spend a lot of time outdoors. A pair of shoes can prevent falls and are essential personal protective equipment.
The soles and heels should be evaluated for slickness and type to prevent slips, trips, and falls. The footwear must be evaluated whenever something occurs to determine whether it contributed to a fall-related injury. During the course of their work, employees must wear footwear appropriate to their duties.
Also, remember to tie your shoelaces correctly.
5. Check the Flooring of Your Workplace or House
You need to change or modify walking surfaces to prevent slips and trips. Here are some tips to keep your flooring safe:
- Recoat or replace floors
- Install mats
- Use pressure-sensitive abrasive strips.
- Use abrasive-filled paint-on coating.
- Use metal or synthetic decking.
As with any flooring, it is essential to maintain the high-tech flooring in a dedicated way. Furthermore, resilient, non-slippery floors contribute to slip-prevention measures by preventing or reducing foot fatigue.
6. Provide Proper Step Tools
To prevent falls, you can use a ladder or accessible step stool to help employees reach heights safely, reducing the chance of a fall. Employees (or customers) are less likely to rely on unstable chairs, desks, or tables when supportive options are available.
7. Place Cords and Cables in the Proper Places
Workplaces are commonly prone to trip hazards caused by trailing cables. Nevertheless, cable management is an ongoing process since electrical equipment is often portable.
Despite this, fixing this issue is relatively inexpensive. It only takes a few minutes for everyone to get trained on how to route cables safely. Avoid trailing cables by planning the layout of your workplace. Prevent trip hazards by placing desks near power supplies or routing cables along walls or under raised floors.
Ensure that your team knows how to manage cables and knows the dangers.
It is also common for employees and customers to encounter a sea of power, internet, and phone cords. Keep these cables hidden behind walls or under carpets.
Slips, trips, and falls happen all the time. Usually, people use these terms interchangeably, but they are slightly different.
So, if you’re working in a special workplace or climate, you must constantly be cautious. However, it is human nature to miss steps or lose balance and fall. That’s why it’s essential to know what to do to prevent slips, trips, and falls.
Roar Engineering’s expert arbitration and litigation team can help you avoid fatal slips, trips, and falls. If you would like Roar Engineering to test the slip resistance of a particular surface with the British Pendulum, check our slips, trips, and falls page.
In this article, we explained what slips, trips, and falls are, how they can occur, what injuries can result from them, and eight ways to prevent accidents at home and work.
We hope this was helpful, and be careful not to fall in the future.
Tips For Preventing Slips, Trips, and Falls – FAQ
How do you prevent slips, trips, and falls in the home?
To prevent slips, trips, and falls at home, you should develop a housekeeping procedure, maintain a proper lighting system, clear your stairways and handrails constantly, wear proper footwear, and keep your flooring safe by changing or modifying it.
What three things should you do to prevent slips, trips, and falls?
First, It is best not to use cleaners that may make the floor slippery. Secondly, avoid tripping hazards by clearing walkways, stairs, and lobbies of cords, wires, and empty boxes. And last but not least, ensure floor mats lie flat instead of wrinkled or bunched up.
What is the most effective method of preventing trips at the workplace?
To avoid tripping at the workplace, you should:
- Use entrance mats.
- Ensure that machinery or buildings are not leaking.
- Maintain equipment and plants.
- Minimize spills by designing tasks.
- Avoid contaminated areas when planning pedestrian and vehicle routes.
- You should choose an effective cleaning method for your floor type.
- While cleaning, avoid adding more slip and trip hazards.
- After cleaning smooth floors, let them dry or exclude pedestrians until they are completely dry.
- Always clean up spills immediately.
- Clean routinely and deal with spills effectively.
- Mix the detergent at the correct concentration with the appropriate detergent.
What are the ten common sources of slips, trips, and falls?
The ten common sources of slips, trips, and falls include the following:
- There is an obstruction in the view
- The lighting is inadequate
- There is clutter in your way
- Your carpet is wrinkled
- The cables are uncovered
- You forgot to close the bottom drawers
- Having uneven walking surfaces
- Surfaces are waterlogged or oily
- Spills occur occasionally
- And weather hazards.