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Slips, Trips, and Falls
This document addresses the nature and causes of slips, trips, and falls, discusses areas and methods that require fall prevention, and provides suggestions for all persons to follow to prevent slips, trips, and falls. This document is not a comprehensive fall protection plan. This document is a guideline for developing departmental plans to follow when developing their own departmental plans. It should not be used in place of a departments fall protection plan. For more information on fall protection requirements at UND, please refer to the Fall Protection Program.
The potential for a fall is present everywhere; however some activities pose a greater risk for falls than others. Here are a few examples:
- Work involving ladders.
- Window washing.
- Confined spaces with vertical openings.
- Working on scaffolds.
- Performing work on top of machinery, water tanks, etc.
- Performing routine maintenance.
Slip and trip hazards account for many fall-related injuries that occur. Slips and trips often result in what is known as a "same level fall." Same level falls are consistently one of the leading incidents.
The following are examples of slip hazards:
- Hidden steps.
- Carpets/rugs and their edges.Smooth surfaces (waxed floors, etc.).
- Loose flooring (tiles, bricks, etc.).
- Ladder rungs and steps not maintained clear of spills and debris.
- Improper protective equipment.
- Equipment and vehicles not properly maintained.
- Oil/grease or other material that was not wiped up immediately.
- Weather conditions outside that cause shoes to track water, mud, or sand inside.
- Shoes with little to no traction (high-heels, leather soled).
The following are examples of trip hazards:
- Electrical cords.
- Clutter/objects (boxes, tools, hoses, etc.).
- Loose footing on stairs, floors, etc.
- Poor lighting.
- Obstructed vision.
- Other people.
The following is a list of general fall hazards:
- Damaged chairs.
- Improper use of furniture.
- Makeshift ladders.
- Improper use of ladders.
- Unfamiliar areas.
- Not properly exiting a car, truck, or machine.
- Transporting items up and down the stairs.
Overhead machinery and materials also pose a risk. This type of condition can result in an injury from materials that fall from an upper level and strike. Good housekeeping, proper planning, and using the proper equipment can eliminate many of these types of hazards.
If engineering controls are not feasible, managers and supervisors must select the most appropriate type of fall protection for the particular fall hazard. Fall protection must be installed and tested before people are allowed to enter the area.
Types of fall protection:
- Safety nets.
- Personal fall arrest systems.
- Warning line systems.
- Safety monitoring system.
- Controlled access zone.
- Positioning device system.
- Equipment guards.
- Personal Protective Equipment (i.e. – hardhats, safety glasses, steel toe shoes).
Some personal practices include:
- Pay attention to the surface you are walking on. Watch for loose boards, or other hazards.
- Do not wear clothing that is too long or shoes that have slippery heels or soles.
- Wear slip resistant shoes as appropriate.
- Clean up spills as soon as possible.
- Mark spills before and during clean up.
- Remove items that may pose a potential slipping hazard.
- Keep hallways and stairwells neat and free of obstacles.
- Turn on lights. Ensure that passageways are adequately lighted.
- Do not overreach.
- Observe warning signs and barriers. Do not enter construction sites unless authorized to do so.
- Keep work area well organized and free of unnecessary clutter.
- Hold on to handrails when using stairs or ramps.
- Do not carry a stack that you cannot see over.Stay away from edges, even if they are guarded, unless you are performing a specific task there.
- Do not jump off vehicles and equipment.
- Report uneven surfaces, such as loose or missing floor tiles, or any other potential hazard to managers or supervisors.
- Always inspect ladders before use.
- Secure the base. For every four feet of height, the ladder should be extended one foot from the base.
- Make sure there is a firm surface below the ladder.
- Work with someone.
- Face the front when on a ladder.
- Do not carry objects when climbing.
- Do not use the top three rungs.
- The ladder should extend at least three feet above the landing area.Watch out for overhead power lines.
Note: Refer Occupational Safety and Environmental Health (OSHA) Walking-Working Surfaces.