National Safety Month: Slips, Trips and Falls

What happens during a fall? A person loses their balance and the body unintentionally moves from an upright position to a prone, or semi-prone position. The free-fall velocity at impact when falling 12 feet is nearly 20 M.P.H. and the person hits the ground in less than one second from this distance.

Fall Protection Workplace Safety

Slip, trips and falls account for 1/3 of all personal injuries in the workplace. The types of injuries incurred from slips, trips and falls include head and back injuries, broken bones, cuts and lacerations, sprains and pulled muscles.

The most common reasons for falls in the workplace are: Slips-- Wet or oily surfaces, occasional spills, weather hazards, loose rugs or mats and flooring that lacks the appropriate degree of traction. Trips-- Obstructed view, poor lighting, clutter, wrinkled carpeting, uncovered cables, uneven walking surfaces and bottom drawers not being closed. There are three keys to prevent workplace accidents due to slips, trips and falls:

1. Good housekeeping is a critical part of eliminating slips trips and falls and is everyone's responsibility. Everything should have a place and always be in place when not in use. Do your stairs at home ever have things like mail or shoes stored on them?

2. Quality walking surfaces, walking surfaces must be free of debris, water and other hazards. Encouraged employees to report problem areas where clutter, obstruction, spillage or damage have occurred.

3. Proper footwear.

If you stop and think about it, we often take risks in inclement weather trying to avoid a hazard or discomfort and as a result create a greater hazard for ourselves. Have you ever noticed how we tend to be unsafe in the most unsafe environments? When it is raining, we run to not get wet. When it is cold & icy, we run to stay warm. When there is a hazard in our path, we step on, climb on, or jump over it. Take the time to consider your environment. These are a few things we should do according to the National Safety Council.

  • Walk like a penguin - slow down & take small steps to keep your center of balance and never run on icy ground
  • Keep both hands free for balance, rather than in your pockets
  • Use handrails
  • Avoid carrying loads on stairways
  • Keep your eyes on where you are going
  • Step – do not jump from vehicles and equipment

Parking lots are known for causing many slips, trips and falls. Restrooms frequently have water and other debris on the floor. Use caution & observe parking lots and sidewalks for cracks, separation, potholes, oily spots. Use extra caution during inclement weather. Report wet floors or leaking fixtures in restrooms.

Slips, Trips and Falls Standards - Code of Federal Regulations

Slips, trips and falls standards are contained in the Code of Federal Regulations, under the heading “Subpart D” or 29 CFR 1910.22.30. It covers cause and prevention of slip, trips and fall injuries. Housekeeping, ladder safety, floor openings and stairways are included in Subpart D.

Subpart D covers terrain indoors and out. Universal to all companies, employees are exposed to slip, trip and fall hazards daily. Workers unload trucks on wet surfaces and employees use icy stairways in winter. This requires everyone to be aware of all potential hazards, even seasonal or geographic.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

  • 65% of fall-related injuries occur as a result of falls from same-level walking surfaces
  • Slips, trip and fall injuries cost employers approximately $40,000 per incident
  • The services, wholesale, and retail trade industries together accounted for over 60% of injuries that resulted from same level falls
  • The manufacturing sector alone accounted for 16 percent of injuries that resulted from same-level falls
  • While same-level falls are more common, elevated falls are often the most serious and cause more severe injuries to a less number of people
  • Over 60% of all elevated falls are from a height of less than 10 feet
  • Over one million Americans suffer a slip, trip, and fall injury every year
  • An estimated 20 – 30% of people who experience a slip and fall will suffer moderate to severe injuries such as bruises, hip fractures, or head injuries
  • The most common fractures that occur from slip and fall accidents are fractures are of the spine, hip, forearm, leg, ankle, pelvis, upper arm, and hand
  • Slip and fall accidents are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and these account for 46% of fatal falls among older Americans
  • Slips, trips and fall accidents can also cause other complications including: Death, Incapacitation, Broken bones and fractures, Long-term medical complications, Head trauma and Spinal cord injuries
  • 1 in 6 of all lost-time work injuries result from slips, trips and falls
  • Slips, trips and fall injuries make up almost 20 percent of all job-related injuries
  • Average of 11 days away from work
  • Approximately 19, 565 people die in the U.S. annually due to injuries caused by unintentional falls
  • According to OSHA, slips, trips and falls cause 15% of all accidental deaths

Workplace Safety Training

Educate your employees annually on workplace safety topics. It is your responsibility as an employer to ensure your employees are safe daily while executing their job site tasks. Do you have a Walking-Working Surfaces program in place for your workplace? Call Amerisafe Group's Training Center. We can customize your safety training to meet your company-specific needs.

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