Toolbox Topic: Slip, Trips, and Falls
According to the BLS – slips, trips, and falls cause nearly 700 fatalities per year. In this episode, we will discuss precautions you can take to avoid slips, trips, and falls.
Definitions of Slips, Trips, and Falls
OSHA 1910.22 Walking/Working Surfaces outline precautions to avoid slips, trips, or falls.
How do we define each term?
- Slips are a loss of balance caused by too little friction between your feet and the surface you walk on.
- Trips can occur whenever your foot hits an object, and you are moving with enough momentum to be thrown off balance.
- Falls occur whenever you lose your balance, causing a sudden and uncontrollable descent.
Or in real simple terms slips are when your feet slide across a surface, trips are when your feet come in contact with an object and it causes you to lose of balance, and falls are when you suddenly lose your balance.
Some celebrity accidents have actually made it into the history books, and we are going to talk about a few.
Owen Hart was a Canadian WWF wrestler. He pressed the release button on a machine that was to lower him into the ring but he hit the button too early. This mishap caused him to fall to his death. He was only 34 years old.
Ann B. Davis, whom you know as Alice (the Housekeeper) on The Brady Bunch, died when she slipped and fell in her bathroom, sustaining a head injury. She was 88 years old.
The famous cardiologist, known for the Atkins low carb diet, Robert Atkins, died when he fell down an icy sidewalk and hit his head in 2003.
An English filmmaker, Ronald Neame, who produced the film “Oliver Twist.” fell and broke his leg in 2010. He died due to complications from that injury.
Bert Granet was a producer who worked on “The Twilight Zone.” On November 15, 2002, he died due to injuries sustained during a fall. He was 92 years old.
In 2009, British film star Natasha Richardson fell and struck her head during a skiing lesson. The actress claimed she was fine and even joked about the accident immediately after. The instructor asked her to seek medical attention, but she refused. Hours later, Natasha developed a splitting headache and was rushed to a hospital in Montreal, where she died from a traumatic brain injury. The actress was married to Liam Neeson. She died at just 45-years-old.
Statistics on Slips, Trips, and Falls
- Slips, trips, and falls accounted for 27% of the 888,220 injuries involving lost workdays
- There were 229,410 lost workday injuries due to contact with objects and equipment
- The three leading causes of work-related injuries treated in emergency rooms were:
- contact with objects and equipment
- overexertion and bodily reaction
- falls, slips, and trips without a fall
805 workers died in falls, and there were 211,640 lost-time injuries. Also, 136 workers were killed in falls on the same level.
Construction workers are most at risk for fatal falls from height – more than seven times the rate of other industries.
Safety Tips on Slips, Trips, and Falls
Safety Tip#1 Avoid Slips
Loss of traction is the leading cause of workplace slips. Slips can be caused by wet surfaces, spills, or weather hazards like ice or snow, so always take extra precautions when walking on these surfaces. Slips are more likely to occur when you are in a hurry or not paying attention.
Clean up and report spills immediately. Remember, even minor spills can be dangerous. Don’t let grease or other slippery substances accumulate on floors.
Tip#3 Avoid Tripping Hazards
Slow down and pay attention! Trips are more likely to happen when you are in a hurry or aren’t paying attention. To prevent trip hazards:
- Watch out for loose carpeting
- Don’t carry loads that are too high in other words make sure you can see where you are walking
- Keep working areas well lit
- Store materials and supplies in the appropriate storage areas- Keep it nice and tidy.
- Maintain walking areas -Arrange equipment so that it doesn’t interfere with walkways or pedestrian traffic
Tip#4 Avoid Falls
Falls account for more workplace fatalities than any other reason!
- Don’t jump off landings, loading docks, or equipment -use the stairs or ladders
- Repair or replace stairs or handrails that are loose or broken
- Hold on to handrails when using the stairs
- Don’t lean over guardrails
Tip#5 Three Points of Contact
Anytime you are using a ladder or climbing on or off equipment, remember 3 points of contact – two hands, a foot or two feet, and a hand at all times. Also, be sure to get a firm grip on the ladder and wear proper foot attire, so you don’t slip while climbing or descending.