Safety Tips Slips, trips and falls

Prevent slips, trips and falls

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A slip, trip or fall at work can lead to injuries – and even death. In 2014, injuries from slips, trips and falls resulted in 247,120 cases involving days away from work, and 818 worker deaths, according to the 2017 edition of “Injury Facts,” a National Safety Council chartbook. These sobering statistics are a reminder that workers need to know what they can do to prevent slips, trips and falls. Here, the Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety explains the differences between slips and trips, and offers advice on how to prevent falls.

Slips and trips

Slips occur when there isn’t enough friction or traction between a person’s feet and the surface he or she is walking on. Common causes of slips include wet or oily floors, spills, loose or unanchored mats, and flooring that lacks the same degree of traction in all areas, CCOHS states.

Trips happen when a foot strikes an object, causing a person to lose his or her balance. Workers trip for a variety of reasons, including clutter in walkways, poor lighting, uncovered cables, drawers being left open, and wrinkled carpeting or rugs.

To help prevent slips and trips among workers, CCOHS recommends the following:

  • Clean up spills immediately. If a spill can’t be cleaned up right away, display “wet floor” warning signs.
  • Keep walkways and hallways free of debris, clutter and obstacles.
  • Cover cables or cords in walkways.
  • Replace burned-out light bulbs promptly.
  • Consider installing abrasive floor mats or replacing worn flooring.
  • Keep filing cabinets and desk drawers shut when not in use.
  • Encourage workers to wear comfortable, properly fitted shoes.

Falls

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that falls can happen in all occupational settings, and “circumstances associated with fall incidents in the work environment frequently involve slippery, cluttered or unstable walking/working surfaces; unprotected edges; floor holes and wall openings; unsafely positioned ladders; and misused fall protection.”

To reduce the risk of falling at work, CCOHS recommends encouraging workers to pay attention to their surroundings and walk at a pace that’s suitable for the surface being walked on and the task being performed.

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