Slips, trips and falls

Controlling this common hazard

Most falls on a level surface do not result in a serious injury but sometimes these falls can do more harm than would be expected. A same level fall can result in fractures or broken bones
and even head injuries. These falls account for 20 percent of lost work time in the U.S.  Employers can take steps to prevent these types of accidents from occurring.

There are four factors that contribute to slip, trip and falls:

Worker factors
Workers may create hazards by using equipment improperly and creating a trip hazard.  They could also suffer from fatigue, making them prone to falls. Furthermore, they can engage in
risky behavior such as running or carrying large items up or down stairs.

Machinery/equipment factors
Poorly designed equipment can create slip and fall hazards too. If the equipment has projections the employee could trip over that part of the machine. Also, if the equipment is poorly maintained and leaks fluid, it creates a slip hazard.

Environmental factors
There are elements of seasonal or weather related factors for slip and fall hazards like ice and snow. Poor maintenance can also lead to hazards such as burned out light bulbs or a damaged floor.

Management practices
All factors can be affected positively or negatively by management practices.  If there is no training for workers in basic walking and working surface safety, workers may not report hazards. Also, if management does not provide adequate staffing or budget for maintenance, machinery and equipment could become unsafe.

To prevent slips, trips and falls:

  • Ensure walking surfaces are predictable with good traction.
  • Prohibit running.
  • Require appropriate footwear.
  • Keep walking surfaces clean and clear.
  • Clearly identify slick or uneven surfaces.
  • Provide proper lighting.
  • Control slips by adequate drainage systems or high-traction work surfaces.

Highlights

  • A same level fall can result in fractures or broken bones and even head injuries; 20% of lost work time injuries are a result of same level falls.
  • There are four factors that contribute to slip and fall hazards.
    • Worker factors
    • Machinery/equipment factors
    • Environmental factors
    • Management practices
  • There are a number of things management can do to prevent slips, trips and falls.
The information provided in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as all encompassing, or suitable for all situations, conditions, and environments. Please contact us or your attorney if you have any questions.