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Slips, Trips and Falls
It’s probably happened to most of us. That momentary lapse of inattention thinking about a personal problem or distracted by an activity that ends in a slip, trip or fall. A stumble down a stairway, a trip over an uneven surface, slipping on the ice, can lead to a variety of regrettable events ranging from a simple bruised shin to an extremely serious injury. It’s just one of a variety of conditions and situations that set the stage for slips, trips and falls in the workplace. Falls are one of the leading causes of unintentional injuries in the U.S. Some common locations for falls cluttered work areas, heavy traffic areas, uneven surfaces, wet surfaces, unguarded heights, ramps, ladders and stairs.
Here are some prevention guidelines to help create a safer work environment for you and your coworkers:
>Clean up all spills immediately.
>Stay off freshly mopped floors.
>Secure electrical and phone cords out of traffic areas.
>Remove small throw rugs or use non-skid mats to keep them from slipping.
>Keep frequently used items in easily reachable areas.
>Wear shoes with good support and slip resistant soles.
>Keep walking pathways clear of obstructions.
>Keep drawers and cabinet doors closed at all times.
>Remove tripping hazards (paper, boxes, books, clothes, toys, shoes) from stairs and walkways.
>Ensure adequate lighting both indoors and outdoors.
>Remove debris from exterior walkways.
>Periodically check the condition of walkways and steps, and repair damages immediately.
>Never stand on a chair, table or surfaces with wheels.
>Control individual behavior.
This condition is the toughest to control. It is human nature to let our guard down for two seconds and be distracted by random thoughts or doing multiple activities. Being in a hurry will result in walking too fast or running which increases the chances of a slip, trip or fall. Taking shortcuts, not watching where one is going, using a cell phone, carrying materials which obstructs the vision, wearing sunglasses in low-light areas, not using designated walkways and speed are common elements in many on-the-job injuries.
It’s ultimately up to each individual to plan, stay alert and pay attention.
Assistant Director Environmental Health & Life Safety
Environmental Health and Safety/Risk Management
Department of Facilities Management
Archive of Safety Information
If you are interested in reviewing past safety articles, please access the following link: