Injuries and Illness

Identifying Effective Interventions for Slips, Trips, and Falls, Part II

Slips, trips, and falls on the same level are a leading cause of sprains, strains, tears, and more serious injuries to workers. NIOSH spent 10 years following slip, trip, and fall interventions in three hospitals to determine what caused workers to fall and how falls could best be prevented. Their findings can help all employers keep workers on their feet.

Yesterday, we looked at four risk factors—contaminants on floors and walkways; indoor walking surface irregularities; outdoor walking surface irregularities; and weather conditions—that can cause workers to slip or trip and fall. Today, we’ll look at four more risk factors and the interventions NIOSH found to be most effective.

Lights, Handrails, and Clutter

Slips and trips are often caused by problems with the floor surface itself—either by irregularities or slippery conditions. However, there are some issues not directly connected to the flooring surface that can also create a hazard, including:

Your one-stop safety management resource, available 24/7. Go here to take a no-cost site tour or here to try it in your own office!

Inadequate lighting. Inadequate lighting makes it harder to see hazards. Make hazards visible by:

  • Installing more light fixtures and/or brighter bulbs in poorly lit areas; and
  • Installing light fixtures that emit light from all sides.

Stairs and handrails. Poorly designed or maintained stairs and handrails can lead to falls. Make these safer with:

  • Slip-resistant treads and nosing that cover the entire tread, especially on outside steps;
  • Handrails at an appropriate height (34 to 38 inches from the stepping surface); and
  • Handrails that extend the full length of the stairs plus 12 inches at top and one tread depth at bottom.

Great news! BLR’s renowned® website now has even more time-saving features. Take our no-cost site tour! Or better yet, try it at no cost or obligation for a full 2 weeks.

Tripping hazards. General clutter, loose cords, hoses, and wires pose a tripping hazard along with improperly used floor mats. Eliminate these by:

  • Using wall-mounted storage hooks, shelves, and hose spools;
  • Marking walkways and keeping them clear;
  • Covering cords on the floor with a beveled protective cover;
  • Using mats and runners large enough that users can take several footsteps on them, thereby cleaning contaminants off their shoes before the shoes contact the flooring;
  • Using beveled-edge, flat, and continuous or interlocking mats; and
  • Replacing mats that are curled, ripped, or worn (secure edges with carpet tape if needed).

Need more advice on walking and working surface safety? Run, don’t walk, to!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.