Slips, Trips and Falls
By: Matt Schiefferly
Vice President Safety Services
In 2002, work place falls killed more than 12,000 people and injured
another 250,000 to 300,000 people. For every serious injury employees lost an average
of 31 days. Companies in the transportation industry are higher than this trend.
There are a number of variables that contribute to frequency and severity of slips,
trips and falls. These include slippery or deteriorated walking services, improper
construction or poor design of walking surfaces, and human factors. Some of these
variables are more controllable than others - here are some of the solutions.
- Consider walking surfaces when remodeling or during new construction.
Avoid terrazzo, glazed ceramic tile, marble and granite. Place carpets down on these
entry areas to avoid slips in wet weather.
- Identify and correct significant differentials in surface continuity.
Falls frequently occur when you must change your gait or stride. (example; change
in surface from a ramp or walkboard, to a regular surface. Or the bumper stops in
parking lots that you may be required to step over.) Make these transitions as flat
- Identify and correct significant height differentials. As little as 1/4
can cause a trip and fall. Carpet to tile, tile to carpet, defects in carpet, computer
cords all cause tripping hazards. Eliminate or reduce these hazards whenever possible.
- Reduce the hazards in vehicles and equipment. Install anti-slip coatings
or tape on steps of vehicles. Make sure handles are secure and available for climbing
in and out of vehicles. Keep cargo area neat and orderly. Keep straps and furniture
pads neatly and securely removed from the main traffic areas.
- Develop a planned maintenance program. Determine your maintenance needs
for cleaning and providing safe walking surfaces, including warehouse, office, walkboards
and trailers. Make sure employees know their responsibility in keeping work areas
clean and reporting spills that can cause a tripping hazard.
- Review the footwear of employees. Make sure all employees are wearing
non-skid shoes with adequate ankle support. Good footwear can improve traction and
- Reduce falls by installing signs or bright paint around stairs, ramps,
or other surface changes. Stairways should have adequate railings, proper riser
and tread depth and proper tread friction. Aluminum tread edges can improve slippery
Any questions or comments can be directed to Matt Schiefferly 800-852-1968 or e-mail