Slips, Trips, & Falls
What are the behavioral reasons why slips and trips occur?
About 60% of falls happen on the same level and result from slips & trips. The remaining 40% are falls from a higher level related to work on ladders, stairs, scaffolds, roofs and other elevated surfaces.
Slips result when there is too little friction or traction between your footwear and the walking surface. Slips are typically due to:
- Wet or oily surfaces,
- Weather hazards,
- Walking surfaces that lack traction, and
- Loose or unanchored floor covering.
Trips result when your walking momentum is suddenly interrupted by an object causing you to lose balance. Trips result from:
- Poor housekeeping and clutter in walking and working surfaces,
- Failing to keep your eyes on the path ahead to avoid obstacles,
- Having an obstructed view due to a load being carried or due to poor lighting, and
- Uneven walking surfaces or transitions in walking surfaces.
The physical reasons (the “conditions”) that slips and trips happen are related to housekeeping and the condition of walking surfaces. The behavioral reasons are related to watching the path ahead (“eyes on path”) and poor housekeeping habits.
Maintaining good housekeeping means ensuring that obstacles (hoses, cords, debris) are not placed in walkways and on working surfaces when possible. If hoses or cords must be placed in areas with traffic, they need to be placed under a stable and secured covering to minimize tripping hazards and to protect the cord or hose.
Debris and materials no longer needed at a jobsite should be removed to avoid constantly stepping over or standing on them. Stacked materials should not protrude into walkways. Objects that protrude up from the ground or pavement should be reported and removed. Be alert when walking on uneven surfaces.
Preventing slips, trips, and (same level) falls boils down to maintaining good housekeeping habits and keeping your eyes on the path ahead.