It may be surprising to learn that in 2020, falls were the leading cause of preventable non-fatal injuries and the third-leading cause of preventable deaths, according to information shared by the National Safety Council. In the same year, “slip, trip and falls” was the second-leading category of fatal occupational injuries.
Many slips, trips and falls—at home, work and in public—are often preventable. So are the injuries they cause.
Slip, Trip and Fall Hazards
Slips are a loss of balance caused by too little friction between the feet or shoes and the walking surface. Hazards contributing to slips can include wet or slick surfaces, spills or weather-related risks such as ice or snow. Being in a rush or wearing unsuitable shoes can also lead to slips.
Trips occur when the walking movement momentum is thrown off balance due to the walker hitting an object. Trips most often happen because the walker is distracted or taken by surprise.
Falls happen when a person moves too far off their center of balance. Falls can happen on flat ground and from an elevated surface, such as a ladder.
Tips for Preventing Injuries
Keep these personal safety tips in mind to prevent injuries at home and on the job.
- Walk in designated walking areas.
- Wear sensible footwear. Slip-resistant footwear is available.
- Make sure pants aren’t so long that they can be stepped on, causing a trip or fall.
- Clean your footwear thoroughly when coming inside, especially if walkways are wet or covered with debris.
- Slow down to avoid surprises. Don’t change directions too quickly.
- Pay attention (“eyes on the path”) when walking. Put the cell phone away. Look ahead for hazards.
- Hold on to handrails when using stairs or ramps.
- If carrying a heavy load that hampers your ability to ascend or descend stairs properly, use the elevator or find help.
- If working off the ground, select the proper ladder and make sure it is placed on a level surface. Learn more about ladder safety here.
Use the following slip, trip and fall tips to make the home and workplace safer.
- Arrange furniture and equipment to avoid interference.
- Close cabinet doors and drawers to avoid causing injury to someone walking by.
- Remove electrical cords, tools, carts and other items from walkways or barricade them off.
- Immediately mop up spills or alert someone that a spill needs to be addressed.
- Light areas well so that people can easily see where they are walking.
- During winter, remove snow and apply a deicer to walkways and parking areas. Post temporary signs to remind people to walk carefully (“walk like a penguin”) to prevent falls on slippery surfaces.
- Place floor mats or track-in/out carpeting at doorways.
See Something? Speak Up.
Another way to prevent slip, trip and fall injuries is to speak up if you see a potential hazard. Alert the appropriate party so the situation can be addressed. Someone will be grateful you did.
If you have questions or concerns about your employee safety program, contact a Hylant loss control expert today.
Beverlie is a Risk Advisor within Hylant’s Risk Management Practice. She has 20 years of experience in environmental, health and safety within automotive, food manufacturing, agriculture, education, Japanese and Chinese companies and life sciences. She has directly reduced incident rates with corrective action follow-up, and improved communications and employee engagement in the execution of safety programs in these industries.
The above information does not constitute advice. Always contact your insurance broker or trusted advisor for insurance-related questions.