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Week 2 – Slips, Trips, and Falls (STFs)

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Week 2 of National Safety Month (June 11th-17th) focuses on Slips, Trips, and Falls (STFs). STFs are among the most common workplace injuries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), over 1,000 workers die each year as a result of slips, trips, and falls.

Slips

OSHA defines slips as a loss of balance caused by too little friction between your feet and the surface you walk or work on. Loss of traction is the leading cause of workplace slips. OSHA says slips can occur from wet floors, spills, or weather hazards such as snow and ice. Slips are most likely to occur when someone is in a rush, wearing the wrong shoes, or not paying attention to where they’re walking.

Trips

OSHA defines trips as occurring whenever your foot hits an object and you are moving with enough momentum to be thrown off balance. Tripping hazards are most likely to occur when the floor is cluttered, when someone is in a hurry, and when someone is not paying attention to where they’re walking.

Falls

Falls are likely to occur when you move too far off your center of balance, during an electric shock, or as a result of a falling object that strikes you, causing you to lose balance. Falls are likely to occur when working at heights. According to OSHA, falls account for more workplace fatalities than any other reason.

Training

OSHA does not provide formal training for slips, trips, and falls; however, employers shall train employees to recognize and avoid unsafe conditions that may result in a slip, trip, and fall incident.

Common Causes for Slips, Trips, and Falls

The most common causes of slip, trip, and fall injuries include:

  • Uneven floor surfaces
  • Unsuitable floor coverings
  • Wet or slippery floors
  • Running cables and wires
  • Poor lighting
  • Poor housekeeping

Prevention

STF injuries can be prevented by following these safety tips:

  • Clear all walkways and ensure there are no obstructions in the travel path(s)
  • Ensure stairs and all walkways are adequately lit
  • Clear all walkways and stairs of cords, wires, or any other tripping hazards
  • Ensure mats, rugs, etc. are secured to the ground and do not pose any slip, trip, or fall hazards
  • Use handrails when walking up or down stairs
  • Use caution wet floor signs where needed
  • Sweep any dust or debris from floors

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