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Slips, Trips and Falls

Most of us have experienced a slip, trip or fall at one time or another. Most times, we are uninjured, but slips, trips and falls are responsible for 25 percent of all occupational injuries. Falling on stairs is responsible for causing disability in approximately 33,000 workers annually. Many others suffer strains, sprains and fractures as the result of on-the-job falls.

Common causes of slips, trips and falls include ladders; stairs; obstructions in walkways or on stairs; slippery or uneven surfaces; improper footwear; poor lighting; or being tired, distracted or in a hurry.

Learning to identify hazards that might cause you to slip, trip or fall is the key to avoiding accidents.

Ladders: Inspect ladders carefully prior to each use. If any part of the ladder is missing, loose or otherwise defective, do not use it.  Setting up ladders carelessly can also cause an accident. Be sure it is properly placed. It is also recommended that you use spotter to stabilize the ladder if going more than a few feet up. Office chairs ARE NOT to be used as ladders.

Stairs should: Have nonslip surfaces, be clear of obstructions at all times and be illuminated. Keep one hand free to grasp the railing, and do not carry objects that are too large to do this or that obstruct your line of vision.

Floors: Uneven surfaces are a major cause of trips and falls. Warped wood, loose or missing tiles, or mats and rugs with turned-up edges should be replaced or repaired immediately.

Obstructions: Materials, cords and debris left on the floor can cause accidents. Always keep walkways clear. All employees are responsible for good housekeeping.

Slippery surfaces: Wet and smooth surfaces are often slippery. All spills should be cleaned up immediately, and when applicable, clear icy and slippery walkways.

Video: Learn 9 defenses against cold-weather slips and falls.

Attitude: Horseplay on the job is an all-too-common cause of trips and falls. While at work, avoid horseplay. Also, do not use your phone while you are walking.

Attire: Wear shoes with good support and slip-resistant soles. Flip-flops are not appropriate for work.

Organization: Keep frequently used items at a lower level so they can be reached easily. Never stand on chairs or tables.

Be alert. Notify your supervisor of potential hazards to safety that require maintenance personnel.  Prevention is the best policy.