Slips, Trips and Falls

Editor's Note: Minor incidents can result in major problems.

Melissa BoyceOverview: Slipping, tripping and falling in the workplace can cause serious injuries, and even death (such as when a construction worker falls from a great height). It is imperative that employers take steps to reduce the amount of slips, trips and falls in the workplace in order to comply with OSHA standards, lower workers' compensation claims and, most importantly, reduce workplace injuries and fatalities by increasing workplace safety.

Slips occur when there is not enough traction on the ground causing someone to lose his or her balance. Spills, weather conditions and slick floors are common causes of slips. Employers should make sure floors are dry and, if necessary, employees have shoes with enough traction to avoid workplace spills.

Trips occur when someone loses his or her balance when coming into contact with another object. Loose wires, crowded staircases, bad lighting and uneven walking surfaces significantly increase the chance of a trip. Employers should run wires and cords along walls, reduce or eliminate clutter from floors and keep walking areas free from debris and unnecessary objects.

Employers must ensure safety gear used to secure workers who work from heights is adequate and functioning properly. Supervisors must then ensure employees actually use the gear.

Author: Melissa Gonzalez Boyce, JD, Legal Editor

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HR guidance on stopping slips, trips and falls in the workplace.