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What are the Leading Causes of Slips, Trips, and Falls in the Workplace?

All employers should be striving to provide a safe workplace for their workers. Often, this means spending a lot of money on expensive infrastructure and education programs. However, while this is important, these programs overlook the number one reason for non-fatal accidents in the workplace. Slips, trips, and falls accounted for 29 percent of non-fatal accidents in 2018/19.

It can be tempting to dismiss these as minor accidents, which only injure your ego. However, this isn’t always the case. Depending on the way that you land, you can seriously injure yourself. For example, it’s possible that you might strain a muscle or break a bone. These injuries can take a long time for you to recover from. However, in some cases, such as a spinal fracture, you might be permanently disabled. Thankfully, such serious injuries are very rare.  However, it’s best to make sure that these accidents don’t occur at all. To help you do this, let’s look at some of the most common causes of slip, trip, and fall accidents in the workplace. We’ll also look at some of the ways that you will be able to reduce the risks.

Wet Floors

One of the most common reasons why people slip, trip, and fall, in the workplace, is because of a slippery floor surface. This can make it harder for people to get a grip on the surface. This can make it easier for them to lose their footing, falling over. The reasons why the floors are wet will vary. In some cases, an employee might have spilled their drink and forgotten to clean it up. In others, an appliance might have been leaking, spilling fluid onto the floor. It’s possible that the window might have been left open, allowing the rain and snow to wet the floor.

There are a few ways that employers will be able to reduce the risks that a slip, trip, and fall will happen because of a wet floor. First, you might want to consider the type of flooring that you install. In some cases, you can get floors that will absorb the fluids, reducing the risks that someone might slip. You might also want to use “Wet Floor” signs, to let people know that the floor might be wet, allowing your employees to take the appropriate precautions. You should also try to make sure that the spills are cleaned up promptly. In some cases, employers might want to consider implementing a program where they inform works about the best way to deal with a spill.

Uneven Flooring

Another popular reason why slip, trip, and fall accidents occur is because of uneven flooring. This can cause people to lose their balance. There are several ways that these hazards might occur. For example, you might have a hole in the floor. Alternatively, you might notice that older flooring will start to bow with age. In some cases, the floor might have several different levels. This can also occur outside. For example, there might be cracks in the flooring or the path might be built on an uneven surface like dirt or gravel.

There are several ways that you can try to remove uneven flooring, to improve workplace safety. One of the biggest strategies should be making sure that the floors are inspected regularly and replaced if necessary. You should also try to make sure that you are building on a flat surface. Finally, there might be some cases where it would be impractical to create an even floor. For example, there might be a small step between different levels in an office. In this case, you should make sure to mark that area with high visibility tape, so that everyone can see it.

Trip Hazards

worker trip and fall on cables An important part of workplace safety is making sure that the walkways are kept clear from obstacles. For example, some businesses might make staff squeeze past boxes of equipment. This can force them into unnatural positions, increasing the chances that they will have an accident. Another common option is people opening doors unexpectedly. However, one of the biggest dangers is leaving cables in the walkway. These can easily get caught around a staff member’s foot, causing them to lose their balance.

The best way to deal with this issue is by setting up strong policies. This will ensure that no-one leaves hazards in the workplace. In some cases, workplaces might need to consider upgrading their storage facilities. These will ensure that you will have a place to put all the equipment. If you need to have cords in the walkway, make sure that they are secured properly. In some cases, you might also want to consider using high-visibility tape to mark the area.

Poor Lighting

When designing any workplace, it’s essential to make sure that they will be adequate lighting. This will make it easier for the staff to see any hazards and take the appropriate action. There are several ways that you will be able to do this. For example, you might want to install new lighting in dark areas. Alternatively, you might want to install larger windows or skylights, bringing in more natural light. Finally, you might want to consider using automatic lighting. This will turn on the lights when someone walks into the room and turn them off when you leave. By using this solution, you will be able to provide a safe environment, while reducing electricity costs.


It’s also possible that the type of shoe you are wearing can increase the chances that you will have a workplace accident. For example, some shoes might not have an adequate grip on the sole, increasing the chances that you will slip on a wet floor. You might also have mud or debris on your shoes. When you walk into the building, you can be putting this debris on the floor, making it slippery. Thankfully, this can be easily fixed by having a mat at the front door. Staff with muddy or wet shoes can wipe off their feet on the mat before entering the building.

Another possible issue is that your shoelaces might come undone and get caught on something, making you trip. While this sounds like a relatively isolated problem, it is more widespread than you might think, especially amongst young people. In fact, a recent study found that 67 percent of falls in children could be linked to untied shoelaces.

Weather Conditions

It’s also possible that the weather can introduce hazards that can impact on workplace safety. For example, in some locations, the entrance to the building might get covered with snow or ice. This can be very slippery. If the walkway is covered with snow, you can shovel it away, or try to use brine to melt the snow away. If this doesn’t fix the problem, it might be wise to temporarily stop people from using this walkway.

It’s also possible that you might experience problems with flooding when it rains. In this case, the water can pool on the walkway, creating a hazard. Over time, this can cause the concrete to crack, creating an uneven surface. The best way to prevent this is by revisiting the drainage of the path. While this can seem like a big expense, it will be worth it in the long term.

As we mentioned, wind can blow water or snow into the building, creating slippery flooring. To prevent this, it’s important that you check the windows during storms, making sure that they are shut securely. If a window gets broken, make sure to replace the glass promptly.

Staff Not Paying Attention

Another of the main causes of the trip, slip, and fall accidents are the people aren’t paying enough attention to where they are walking. This can lead to them unwittingly walking into a potential hazard. This is a more difficult problem to overcome. For many people, walking while texting has become a habit. It’s estimated that this causes around 11,000 injuries per year. This is because our brain evolved to focus on one task at a time.

Though it will be hard to eradicate completely, you can try to limit the number of staff who are walking around while distracted. For example, you might want to introduce some new policies targeted at eliminating this behavior. You might also want to try to educate your staff about some of the potential problems that walking while looking at your phone can cause. As we’ve seen, while this seems like a trivial issue, it can carry significant risks.

Ladders and Stairs

Many buildings are situated across multiple levels, which means that staff might use the stairs to walk between multiple levels. However, for some employees, this can be a challenge. To try to limit these risks, you should make sure that you install a sturdy handrail. This will give people something to hold onto as they travel along the stairs. You should also make sure that employees are walking, rather than running, down the stairs. If they fall due to reckless behavior, it can lead to a very nasty injury.

In other workplaces, staff might need to climb up a ladder to get access to supplies. This can be a potentially dangerous environment. To reduce the risks, you should make sure that you are using a strong ladder. You should also make sure that it’s been secured properly. In some cases, this can mean enlisting a colleague to hold the ladder for them, to make sure that it doesn’t move.

Elevated Work Environments

Finally, you might be working on a building site where you need to climb on an elevated platform, like a piece of scaffolding. This has the potential to carry a lot of risks, as a fall from a height can increase the chances of a serious injury. For this reason, good workplace safety policies must be in place. Only people who have had adequate training should be allowed on these platforms. They should have been trained on what to do during a fall to minimize the injuries they receive. You should also make sure that these platforms have been secured properly.

Perform Regular Risk Assessments

As we’ve seen, there are multiple reasons why trip, slip, and fall accidents might occur in the workplace. We also looked at some of the best ways to reduce the risks. Hopefully, this has helped you create a safer place for your staff. However, to make sure that you maintain these high standards, and to point out risks that you might not have considered, it’s important to conduct a regular risk assessment. In most cases, this will be a legal requirement to make sure that you are complying with the latest workplace safety rules.

To complete a risk assessment, you’ll need to first find any hazards. As we’ve discussed, there are several areas that can cause a slip, trip, and fall to occur. Then you will need to find who will be injured and how they might be hurt. The next step is to decide on what precautions you will need to take to reduce the risks. Finally, you will need to record the plan, reviewing it regularly to make sure that your workplace is still protected. Taking a few hours to do this frequently will make it easier for you to deal with new risks in a proactive manner.

What to Do If You’ve Been Injured In A Slip, Trip, And Fall?

While there are several ways to improve workplace safety, what do you do if you are already injured? In some cases, you might need to seek medical treatment. This can easily be expensive, especially if you suffered a severe accident. To help pay for the costs, you might want to turn to the professionals at The Injury Firm. They can examine the circumstances in which the injury occurred and tell you whether you have a strong claim. So, get in touch with our experienced team of attorneys today for your FREE CONSULTATION: 954-951-0000.

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