SLIPS, TRIPS & FALLS IN THE WORKPLACE

FACT: The NSC (National Safety Council) indicates that slips and falls are the most common reason for an emergency room visit. Types of injuries that occur from a slip, trip or fall are injuries to the back, shoulder, elbow, wrist, and/or knee. Generally, joint injuries are the most common. The DOL (U.S. Department of Labor), says on average that slips, trips and falls cost roughly $28,000, due to injury in one case alone. That in turn puts financial strain on both workers as well as companies.

Slips and falls are the third largest cause of workplace injuries. Within North America, slips and falls lead to approximately 104 million lost workdays each year and in-turn end up costing approximately $36 billion dollars each year.

REGULATIONS: The two primary regulatory standards that apply to slips, trips, and falls are OSHA 29 CFR 1910.22 Walking-Working Surfaces and the ANSI A1264.2-2006 Provision for the Slip Resistance on Walking/Working Surfaces.

Causes of slips, trips and falls may include any of the following:

  • Walkway surface substances & spills such as oil and water.
  • Lack of training about slips/trips & falls.
  • Unanchored Mats or rugs.
  • Environmental related items like rain, snow and/or ice.
  • Inappropriate footwear.
  • Walkway surfaces that are in need of repair.

Approximately 60 to70 percent of slips, trips, and falls occur on level walking surfaces. Training employees on methods of prevention is key. Once properly trained, employer’s can see a drastic cost savings from a reduction in slips, trips, and falls.

Even though OSHA is a regulatory agency, it has some very good floor safety recommendations for prevention. They include; keeping floor surfaces clean and dry, ensuring wet-floor warning signs are posted as needed and maintaining proper drainage, prevent obstructions in aisles and passageways, ensure walkway surfaces are in good repair, ensure power cords are not run across walkway paths, clean up spills immediately,  use non-slip coatings or surfaces in slippery locations, minimize matting or carpet  trip hazards, provide adequate lighting in halls and stairwells and repair or eliminate uneven floor surfaces.

For more information found in this article, consult the National Safety Council, U.S. Department of Labor, www.dol.gov

Occupational Safety and Health Administration- OSHA, www.osha.gov

ANSI, American National Standards Institute – www.ansi.org/