A momentary lapse of attention can result in accidental slips, trips, and falls over an uneven surface or slippery floors. These incidents often lead to regrettable injuries, from a simple bruised shin to extremely serious injuries.
Slips occur when there is insufficient grip or traction on one’s footwear and the surface they are walking on. It is mostly a result of water, oil, grease, dust, and loose rugs or mats.
While trips happen when the foot strikes an object, leading to loss of balance. People trip for several reasons: walkway clutters, poor lighting, unarranged cords, and wrinkled carpeting or rigs.
Lastly, falls are often triggered by a loss of balance leading to chronic pain and other injuries. Even though many fall incidents are not serious, others can cause real damage, such as bruising, sprains, or even broken bones.
These types of injuries make up the majority of general industry in Australia, which accounts for:
- Slips, trips, and falls are the second leading cause of unintentional injury and deaths in Australia
- Over 100,000 Australians were hospitalised due to a fall in 2016-17, which is equivalent to 273 people every day
- Major slips and trips are responsible for over a third of all reported major injuries
- Millions of workdays are lost every year due to these injuries (accounting for 65% of total workdays lost)
6 Ways To Prevent Slips, Trips, And Falls
There are ways you can do to reduce potential hazards at home or in the workplace that leads to slips, trips, and falls.
1. Keep Walking Surfaces Clean And Free Of Clutter
Reduce the potential for injury by keeping the walkways area clear and free of clutter. An unobstructed path minimises the chance of you tripping over unexpected objects.
A clutter-free area also lessens the risk of falls that could create a dangerous slipping hazard.
2. Install Stairways & Handrails
Stairs at home and the workplace is a common areas for falls. Often, additional care is necessary to reduce the risk of injury. To avoid accidental trips and falls, be sure to keep stairways clean, well-lit, and free from unsecured objects.
3. Check Floor Conditions
Make sure there are no cracks or holes in the flooring of your home or office, inside and out. Repair any problem areas immediately and place warning signs within the areas that need to be fixed.
4. Have Proper Lighting
Installing proper lighting inside and outside a home or a workspace can help illuminate dark areas where most people trip or fall.
In most cases, the steps and other hazards are hidden by darkness or shadows. Proper lighting (e.g., spotlights, illuminated steps, etc.) can reduce the chance of slips, trips, and falls.
5. Manage Cords
Several cords for the power, internet and phone can create obstacles and eventually a risk for accidental trips.
Try to run all cables behind the walls or keep them under the carpet to avoid running cables across walkways.
6. Clean Up Spills Immediately
Clean up any spills right after it spreads on the floor. If left uncleaned for long periods, the substance can penetrate the floor surface, creating a more slippery surface even after cleanup.
To avoid such, immediately tackle the cleanup process and place warning signs around the hazards.
While slips, trips, and falls are often attributed to clumsiness or carelessness, the good news is these incidents are preventable. Proactive attention and doing the checklist above will ultimately keep everyone safe and out of harm’s way.
Raise safety awareness of slips, trips, and falls in a first aid training course. Learn what to do in the event of accidental injuries and perform lifesaving skills.