Many workers are injured annually due to falls on walking and working surfaces. These injuries account for a significant percentage of lost-time injuries. Not only are slips, trips, and falls an economical loss, they also account for a lot of pain and suffering and sometimes even death. It is important to understand how slips, trips, and falls happen, how to identify hazards, and how to eliminate or minimize these hazards.
Slips happen because of a lack of friction or traction between the footwear we are wearing and the walking surface.
- Some common causes of slips are:
- Hazards created from weather (e.g., puddles, ice)
- Surfaces that are wet or oily
- Loose rugs or mats
Trips occur when your foot strikes or hits an object which causes you to lose your balance.
Common causes of tripping are:
- Clutter on the floor (e.g., power cords, boxes)
- Poor lighting
- Uneven walking surfaces (e.g., carpeting, steps, thresholds)
- Sudden change in slip resistance properties of walking surfaces (e.g., wet floor or stepping from tiled to thick pile carpeted floors)
Falls can occur from a height or on surfaces that are on the same level. A fall can be the result of a slip or a trip where your centre of gravity is shifted causing you to lose your balance. Preventive measures should be taken to avoid slips and trips.