What key points should I include in a safety talk about slips, trips, and falls?

Presented by: Tingley


Q:

What key points should I include in a safety talk about slips, trips, and falls?

A:

Slips, trips, and falls are among the leading cause of injuries in the US, often resulting in sprains, strains, fractures, broken bones, or concussions.

Millions of slips, trips and falls occur every year costing billions of dollars in legal costs, lost production, medical costs, workers compensation costs, insurance costs, and other hidden costs.

(Learn about Third Party Negligence in Slip and Fall Accidents.)

Falls from the same level occur for two major reasons:

  • Trips, which happen when a person collides with something causing them to lose balance and fall
  • Slips, which occur because of a loss of traction or insufficient friction between your footwear and the surface

When you're giving a safety talk about slips and trips, you should cover the hazards present on the worksite and the controls that can prevent these incidents from taking place.

Make sure your employees recognize the following hazards:

  • Potential falls from flat beds, trailers, and other mobile equipment
  • Debris in walkways from inadequate housekeeping
  • Snow and ice
  • Wet surfaces
  • Greasy and oily surfaces
  • Hidden tripping or slipping hazards (e.g. tarps under snow or snow covered tripping hazards)
  • Uneven surfaces
  • Ankle busters (e.g. large rocks in a walkway)
  • Insufficient lighting
  • Not seeing where you are going while carrying large loads
  • Changes in elevation and levels
  • Inadequately cleaned steps or loose stair treads
  • Weather obstructing the view (dust or snow)
  • Insufficient or missing guardrails and handrails
  • Footwear that isn’t suitable for the environment
  • Rushing or running
  • Using a phone while walking or going up and down stairs

Make sure your employees also know how these hazards can be controlled.

  • Using suitable footwear
  • Performing regular housekeeping tasks and keeping the work area organized
  • Using ladders to access flat beds, trailers and other mobile equipment
  • Clearing snow and ice from walkways
  • Marking wet surfaces
  • Getting help when carrying large loads
  • Cleaning oily and greasy surfaces
  • Reporting any problems with guardrails or handrails
  • Using signage to indicate changes in elevation
  • Taping down chords and cables or using step-overs

Workers should be encouraged to take the initiative to fix minor issues, like moving tripping hazards out of the way or salting icy walking surfaces. Other hazards should be reported to supervisors.

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Written by Todd Wells
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Todd Wells is a safety professional who works to turn complex projects into successes, implementing effective safety initiatives and consistently achieving measurable positive results on his projects.

Todd is currently a Surface Safety Coordinator with Hatch and understands that world-class safety is about establishing a culture that manages risks and workplace behaviors that cost money.

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