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?
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.
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.
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.