Slips, Trips and Falls

SLIPS, TRIPS AND FALLS

With the weather changing, there are increased hazards for slips, trips and falls. Freezing conditions can cause roadways and walkways to freeze leading to a slip hazard. The cold weather isn’t the only time that slips, trips and falls can occur though. All year round, this is a potential threat. What exactly is a slip, trip or a fall?

DEFINITIONS

SLIP: Too little friction or traction between foot (footware) & walking/working surface, resulting in loss of balance.

  • Common Causes: Wet products or spills on smooth floors or walking surfaces such as; water, mud, grease, oil, food, blood or offal. Dry product or spills making walking surface slippery; dusts, powders, granules, wood or plastic wrapping

TRIP:  Foot or lower leg hits object & upper body continues moving, resulting in loss of balance; stepping down to lower surface and losing balance

  • Common Causes: uncovered hoses, cables, wires or extension cords across aisles or walkways; clutter or       obstacles in walkway/work areas; open cabinets, file cabinets or desk drawers & doors

FALL: Occurs when too far off center of balance. There are two types of falls.

  • Same Level Fall: Fall to same walking or working surface, or fall into or against objects above same surface
  • Lower Level Fall: Fall to level below walking or working surface.

COMMON INJURIES

Some of the most common injuries as a result of a slip, trip or fall are: sprains or strains, bruises and contusions, fractures or abrasions & lacerations. The most common locations for these injuries are: knee, ankle and/or foot, the wrist and/or elbow, back and/or shoulder, hip and head.
IN A NUTSHELL

Slips, trips and falls are no joke. They can happen to anyone, anywhere and can be incredibly costly. OSHA states that the cost to the employer is: loss of productivity & business, increased industrial insurance premiums and costs associated with training replacement workers. OSHA also states that the cost to the worker is: Lost wages & out-of-pocket expenses, pain, temporary or permanent disability, reduced quality of life, depression or even death. Most of the slip, trip and fall accidents could have been prevented.

PREVENTION

Those are some pretty serious repercussions for a slip, trip or fall. There are ways to prevent these things from happening. Some ways to prevent slips, trips and falls are:

  • Design workplace and processes to prevent any potential exposures to slip & trip hazards.
  • Maintain clear, tidy work areas free of clutter.
  • Follow safe walking practices and routes.
  • Wear proper footwear that has good traction.
  • Learn to fall ‘properly’ – there are techniques that can help to minimize fall injuries.
Do you have any tips?
Does your team have a procedure to prevent slip, trips and falls? Share with us!
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