Slips and trips are an all-too-common occupational hazard estimated to cause hundreds of thousands of accidents and injuries on the job every year. The chief cause of slips is (no surprise) a slippery surface, compounded by improper footwear.
There are two types of slips:
· In the first, the heel of the forward foot contacts the walking surface, then slips forward, and the person falls backward.
· In the second type, the rear foot slips backward and the walker falls forward.
The best hedges against slips and resulting falls and injuries are dry walking and working surfaces and slip-resistant footwear. On slippery surfaces, nonskid strips or floor coatings should be used.
Trips occur when the front foot strikes an object and is suddenly stopped. The upper body is thrown forward and a fall is the result. A relatively slight rise in a walkway can cause someone to stub a toe, also potentially resulting in a trip and fall.
Reducing the Risk
One of the biggest contributing factors to slips, trips, and resulting falls is improper housekeeping. One technique used by many businesses is painting yellow lines to indicate walking and working surfaces that should never be cluttered, slippery, or obstructed.
Lighting can also be a factor, especially when employees move from light to dark, or dark to light areas of the workplace. Trips and falls can also result when workers are carrying large objects that obscure their vision.
Rubber mats that are skid-resistant on the top and bottom can also help. Safety signs, such as those announcing wet floors, are a good choice when hazards cannot be eliminated.
Supervisors and safety personnel should also regularly inspect walking and working areas to identify hazards, and take immediate corrective action whenever possible.
Also require all personnel at risk of slips and trips to:
· Wear proper footwear with nonslip soles.
· Report and clean up spills immediately.
· Report slips, trips, and falls so that they can be investigated and future incidents prevented.