Slips, Trips, and Falls

Injury due to falls is a major problem in industry today. You always hear about the incidents where an employee fell from a great height and lost his or her life. But there are more common fall injuries such as sprains, strains, fractures, cuts/lacerations, punctures, etc. that can require a trip to the doctor’s office. The pain and suffering from a knee or back injury is very real, and a very realistic concern. Falls from one level to another are certainly pose the highest risk physically, but there are a couple of other types of falls that need to be looked at as well.

How many of you have ever fallen down? What were you doing at the time?
(So, falling from one level to another/from an elevated height is not the only fall hazard.)

Let’s look at the four main categories of falls.

Slipping (same level)

  • Ice on the sidewalks
  • Oil or grease on the floor
  • Loose rugs on waxed (slick) floors
  • Food on the floor after breaks and lunch
  • Pipe, welding rod stubs, or other rolling stock on the floor
  • Trash, debris (ex. sawdust) on the floor

Tripping (same level)

  • Irregular surfaces
  • Lines, cords, hoses in walkways
  • Poor lighting
  • Poor housekeeping
  • Rug edges not flat
  • Work shoes worn/in poor condition

Collisions (same level)

  • Blind corners in hallways and warehouses
  • Equipment, such as forklifts, which swing wide
  • Low clearances

Elevations (different levels)

  • Misjudging a step or handhold
  • Over-reaching on ladders, scaffolds, and man-lifts
  • Unstable ladders (top not secured, feet not prevented from slipping)
  • Food on the floor after breaks and lunch
  • Unguarded edges
  • Not using fall arrest equipment properly/not hooked off