Slips and Trips Lead to Falls and Injury

You lose traction on a slippery floor and start to fall, hitting the ground with a thud. If you’re lucky, you’ll walk away with only your ego bruised. If you’re not, you could be seriously injured.

Slips, trips and falls are among the most common causes of serious injuries at work – second only to hazardous manual tasks. And you don’t have to fall far. Falling as little as two metres can result in serious injury and lengthy amounts of time off work.

While the most common injuries are cuts, bruises, sprains, strains, fractures and dislocations, more serious injuries can also occur, and even death.

What do we mean by slips, trips and falls?

A slip: is when your foot loses traction with the ground surface. This can be due to inappropriate footwear or walking on slippery surfaces that are highly polished, wet or greasy.

A trip: can occur when you catch your foot on an object or surface and lose your balance. Most commonly, people trip on low obstacles that are difficult to spot, such as uneven edges in flooring, loose mats, open drawers, and poorly stored materials such as untidy tools or electrical cables.

A fall: can result from a slip or trip, although they can also occur from falling from low heights such as steps, stairs, and curbs, or falling into a hole, ditch or into water.

How to prevent injury

  • Report any inadequate or broken lighting, which can prevent someone noticing slip or trip hazards.
  • Avoid and/or report trailing cables or other low obstacles such as open drawers, loose mats or carpet tiles, or wrinkled carpeting.
  • Keep walking areas clear of clutter or obstructions.
  • Clean up or report any contaminants immediately. Contaminants can be wet, such as water, oil or grease; or dry, such as dust, metal shavings, plastic bags or off-cuts.
  • Wear appropriate footwear for your role. It should be suitable for your type of work and work environment, comfortable, and with an adequate non-slip sole and appropriate tread pattern.
  • Always take your time and pay attention to where you are going.
  • If you are carrying or pushing anything, make sure it doesn’t prevent you from seeing any obstructions.