Slips, trips and falls are common workplace hazards which when they occur can cause different levels of injuries from simple bruises to sprains and strains, contusion, fractures, abrasion and laceration. Sometimes, slips and trips can be lethal. Slips and trips can result in falls and can happen anywhere.
According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), slips, trips and falls is the second-leading cause of accidental deaths per year and it accounts for 15% of all. It is thus very important to know about them, their common causes and ways to prevent them.
Slips occurs when there is little or no friction or traction between the foot or footwear and the walking or working surface.
Trips on the other hand occurs when one’s foot hits or strikes an object or an obstruction such that one loses balance and eventually falls.
Falls can occur on same levels or lower level. Falls on same level occur when one falls on the same walking or working surfaces where as falls on lower level occur when one falls below the walking or working surface from elevated surfaces.
Generally, bad housekeeping always causes one or more of these; poor workplace designs, no or poor lightning and weather hazards.
Human factors could also be responsible for an occurrence of slips and trips; poor vision, being in a hurry, distractions, fatigue, Illness and dizziness, taking shortcuts, carrying materials which obstruct the vision.
Slips can be caused by:
- wet or oily surfaces
- loose mats
- unanchored rugs
- occasional spills
- sloped or uneven walking surfaces
- Shoes with wet, muddy or oily soles.
Trips can be caused by:
- obstructed view
- uncovered cables, wires or hoses on walkways
- clutter or obstructions on the way
- uneven or sloped walking surfaces
- open cabinet, file or desk drawers or doors
- Damaged or irregular steps.
Having identified the common causes of Slips, Trips and Falls we can easily identify how to prevent them.
- keep passageways clear of obstructions and clutter
- Clean spills immediately
- Use cautions on wet surfaces
- Proper and sufficient lightning
- Covering cables, hoses that cross walk ways.
- Surfaces should be kept clean and dry always
- Keep surfaces clean of debris always.
The use of correct boots or shoes with good traction is very important. Always wear the correct boots for the particular place of work.
It is also up to you stay alert and pay attention;
- Avoid being distracted or rushing to do things
- Avoid carrying loads that obstruct your vision.
- Use flashlight in rooms with no lightning or when dark.
- Avoid working or walking when dizzy or fatigued.
- Be sure your path is clear where you are walking or working.