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Slips, Trips, and Falls


It's probably happened to most of us. That momentary lapse of attention, thinking about a personal problem or distraction 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. It can lead to a variety of regrettable events ranging from a  simple  bruised shin to an extremely serious injury. It's just one of several conditions and situations that set the stage for slips, trips and falls in the workplace.

It's probably happened to most of us. That momentary lapse of attention, thinking about a personal problem or distraction 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. It can lead to a variety of regrettable events ranging from a simple bruised shin to an extremely serious injury. It's just one of several conditions and situations that set the stage for slips, trips and falls in the workplace.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, slips, trips, and falls make up most general industry accidents, which account for:

  • 15% of all accidental deaths per year, the second-leading cause behind motor vehicles 
  • About 25% of all reported injury claims per fiscal year 
  • More than 95 million lost work days per year—about 65% of all work days lost

In general, slips and trips occur due to a loss of traction between the shoe and the walking surface or inadvertent contact with a fixed or movable object which may lead to a fall. There are a variety of situations that may cause slips, trips, and falls:

  • Wet or greasy floors
  • Dry floors with wood dust or powder
  • • Uneven walking surfaces 
  • Polished or freshly waxed floors 
  • Loose flooring, carpeting or mats 
  • A transition from one floor type to another 
  • Missing or uneven floor tiles and bricks 
  • Damaged or irregular steps; no handrails 
  • Sloped walking surfaces 
  • Shoes with wet, muddy, greasy or oily soles 
  • Clutter 
  • Electrical cords or cables 
  • Open desk or file cabinet drawers 
  • Damaged ladder steps 
  • Ramps and gangplanks without skid-resistant surfaces 
  • Metal surfaces—dock plates, construction plates 
  • Weather hazards—rain, sleet, ice, snow, hail, frost 
  • Wet leaves or pine needles

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