Slips, trips and falls cause an estimated 10 percent of injuries nationally, and one occurs nearly every three seconds.
There are many hazards that lead to slip, trip, and fall injuries both in the workplace and at home. Spilled liquids, loose gravel, icy and oily surfaces, and other types of slick surfaces commonly cause slips. Trips can occur from worn mats, uneven walkways, extension cords, blocking your view while carrying items, and many other unstable disturbances while walking. Falls can occur from any area that a person is standing on; such as a stepladder, a ledge without proper guard- railing, or stairs. Falls may also be the result of a slip or trip. Poor housekeeping is a major cause of slips, trips and falls.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) also reports that 15 percent of worker fatalities resulted from slips, trip, and fall accidents. Falls are the second leading cause of death, second only to vehicle accidents. These accidents result in lost time, increases in workers’ compensation costs, and quality of life issues for some of the injured.
Districts can help prevent slip, trip, and fall accidents by creating awareness of the hazards and implementing a fall prevention program that focuses on awareness of hazards and good housekeeping. In addition, many slip, trip, and fall hazards can be eliminated through simple engineering solutions. An engineering solution to address slick concrete surfaces is to refinish by roughing or scarring the surface creating grooves that create friction or a gripping action while walking. Another example is to add rails along a stairway or walkway where none currently exists and stepping off from that surface may lead to serious fall.
Alerting staff of slip, trip, and fall hazards can help prevent accidents at home as well. The number one rule for preventing accidents is creating awareness of the hazard, and training on steps to prevent the accident. Accidents will inevitably happen, but the key is to help people avoid them whenever possible.
Contact your Risk Solutions consultant for information about how to avoid slips, trips, and falls.
Editor's note: This article was originally published in November 2009 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.