National Safety Month: Preventing Slips, Trips, & Falls

Written by Kevin Lombardo

June is National Safety Month, and here at DORN, we’re using it as a chance to dig into some of the most critical safety issues facing employers today. 

This week, we shared a Safety Minute video featuring DORN’s own Cheryl Roy, who explains an issue all safety professionals should know well: slips, trips, and falls.

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that slips, trips, and falls are associated with more than 84% of all non-fatal work-related injuries that involve missed work days. Some 1,000 workers die every year as a result of a falling incident (37% of all fatalities), making this category the second leading cause of work-related fatalities and the third leading cause of employee disability. Slips, trips, and falls account for almost 16 million injuries annually, a number that comes with enormous costs to employers.

So what are the primary causes of slip, trip, and fall incidents, and what steps can employers take to prevent them from happening? 

As Cheryl explains in this special Safety Minute, many slips, trips, and falls can be traced to workplace conditions and environmental hazards. Obstacles such as cables, rugs, step ladders, trash, or slippery substances like water, ice, or other chemicals are major contributing factors to this injury category, and facility maintenance is a key way to address these risks and prevent costly injuries. Likewise, poor lighting exacerbates the risks inherent to many workplaces; when employees cannot fully see their environment, the risk of injury becomes much greater. As Cheryl explains, there are a few key strategies for preventing slips, trips, and falls:

  • Situational awareness: Train employees to practice constant vigilance at work so that they can remain aware of potential hazards and avoid them in the course of their duties.
  • Reporting: A culture that encourages fast reporting and quick responses to hazards will be much more resilient to this injury type.
  • Proper storage: Sometimes, preventing injuries comes down to keeping things tidy. Storing equipment and materials in appropriate spaces (shelves, storage compartments, etc.) will keep hazards away from workers and help employees avoid tripping.
  • Lighting: All workspaces should be brightly lit, and malfunctioning lighting should be reported and repaired immediately.
  • Signage: Clear, easy-to-read signs will help warn employees of potential fall hazards in the work environment. These should be updated whenever new equipment is introduced or workspaces are altered.
  • Fast clean-up: Quick action is essential when spills have occurred. Clean up spills immediately, even for minor incidents such as spilled coffee in a break room.
  • Footwear: Every job depends on proper equipment, and footwear with adequate traction for the work environment is a must for all industries. Open-toed shoes should never be used at work.
  • Facility maintenance: Issues such as loose flooring or damaged stairs should be addressed as soon as they are reported in order to prevent injuries.
  • Proactive safety planning: There’s no substitute for a comprehensive, fully implemented safety plan that includes a robust framework for addressing fall hazards. When developing your safety plans and budgets, ensure that slips, trips, and falls are factored in at every level and in all types of facilities.

Stay tuned to the DORN blog and follow us on LinkedIn for more National Safety Month content!

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About the Author

Kevin Lombardo

CEO & President at DORN Companies
Kevin is Senior Executive and widely recognized thought leader in workers’ compensation and Total Worker Wellness with a focus on workplace injury prevention and on-site innovative therapy solutions.
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