Slips, trips, and falls happen where there is too little traction between the footwear and the walking surface. Over 40,000 workers in Canada get injured annually due to these types of accidents, which represents about 18% of the “time-loss injuries” accepted by workers’ compensation boards across Canada. Statistics show that approximately 67% of falls happen as a result of slips and trips.
Common causes of slips include:
• Wet or oily surface spill
• Weather hazards like snow or ice
• Unanchored or loose rugs/mats
Common causes of tripping are:
• Poor lighting or obstructed view
• Uncovered cables
• Drawers not being closed
• Uneven walking surfaces like steps or thresholds
Good housekeeping can prevent falls due to slips and trips. Ensuring that spills are cleaned up or clearly marked if it cannot be dealt with immediately. Making sure that floors are mopped and swept, or clutter is removed to create clear always. File cabinets and storage doors should always be closed when not actively in use, and cables should always be clearly marked and/or covered.
In workplaces where floors may be oily or wet or where workers spend considerable time outdoors, prevention of fall accidents should focus on selecting proper footwear. Since there is no footwear with anti-slip properties for every condition, consultation with manufacturers’ is highly recommended.
Properly fitting footwear increases comfort and prevents fatigue which, in turn, improves safety for the employee.
You can reduce the risk of slipping on wet flooring by:
• Taking your time and paying attention to where you are going
• Adjusting your stride to a pace that is suitable for the walking surface and the tasks
• Walking with the feet pointed slightly outward
• Making wide turns at corners
You can reduce the risk of tripping by:
• Always using installed light sources that provide sufficient light for your tasks
• Using a flashlight if you enter a dark room where there is no light
• Ensuring that things you are carrying or pushing do not obstruct your view