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DEALING WITH SLIPS TRIPS AND FALLS

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A little stutter on the floor, tripping on a string from your favourite carpet, or a huge fall down the stairs at home or at work can have consequences ranging from ruining your day to landing you in the emergency section of a hospital. Slips, Trips, and Falls are common accidents that occur in daily life.

 A safety quote says,

 “Your life is one life. Think safety.”

This simply means that safety is and must be a priority every day of our life. Being safe is a non-negotiable factor for being healthy and happy.  We can start by being cautious of Slips, Trips and Falls.

What are Slips, Trips, and Falls?

Slips occur when you lose your footing due to little or no friction between your footwear and the floor surface, which may result from a spill that makes the floor slippery.

Trips occur when you come in contact with an obstacle on your paths such as loose wires, uneven surfaces, or stationed objects.

Falls are usually the result of slips or trips or a general loss of control and balance. Falls can occur on the same level or from a height. For example, tripping and falling down over a stool or falling down a tree.

Common Causes of slips trips and falls

There are common causes of Slips, Trips, and Falls that you should consider in everyday activities.

Common causes of Slips are:

  • Wet or oily surfaces
  • Rain, ice, snow
  • Low traction footwear

Common causes of Trips are:

  • Poorly lit environment
  • Uneven surfaces
  • Cables, strings and wires along the path
  • Objects carelessly kept on the floor
  • Loose mats, rugs, and carpets

Any of the above causes of slips and trips may eventually lead to a fall. Statistics show that 67% of falls occur from slips and trips. Another 30% of falls are caused by dropping from a height such as stairs, ladders, roofs, and balconies. Knowing the causes of slips and trips is not enough, you should also know the basic steps to prevent them.

Preventing Slips, Trips, and Falls

Preventing slips, trips, and falls in homes or offices is very important for personal safety. Good housekeeping practices are very effective in preventing these accidents at home or in the office. Some good housekeeping practices are:

  • Using caution signs when mopping or cleaning public spaces.  At home, you can simply tell family members to restrict their movement until you are done cleaning.
  • Always clean up spills on the floor as soon as they occur.
  • Removing obstacles from walkways
  • Covering up cables and wires and removing them from walkways. Use cable ties or cable management boxes to organize cords and wires.
  • Properly placing mats, rugs, and carpets so that they don’t come loose. Consider replacing worn-out rugs and carpets.
  • Ensure good lighting of pathways.

Another good approach to prevent slips, trips, and falls after good housekeeping is to look at the flooring of your house or office.

Good flooring practices

  • Use non-slippery flooring wherever necessary.
  • Repair damaged floors as soon as possible.
  • Add abrasive strips to  tiles in bathrooms, kitchen, laundry or bedroom floors to help with traction.  

Footwear and Movement Advice

Another preventive measure would be the use of the appropriate footwear at all times. In an office environment where construction or any type of intensive work is going on, always wear safety boots with good traction. Wear rain or snow boots depending on the weather to help keep safe and avoid slips. Change out your shoes when they wear out and women should avoid wearing heels in slippery places or on rainy days.

Other preventive measures are:

  • Avoid groping in the dark. Use a torchlight.
  • Walking calmly and with even strides. There’s no need to run all the time when you’re no athlete and don’t have the right footwear.
  • Take wide turns at corners.
  • Monitor kid play area to ensure they are free of elements of slips trips and falls

Adhering to these preventive measures can go a long way to keeping you and your family safe and healthy. Safety is your responsibility, so do well to keep safe at all times.

Safety First Safety Always

Reference:

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. “Prevention of Slips, Trips, and Falls.” OSH Answers, Canada.ca, June 2018, https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/safety_haz/falls.html. Accessed 12 September 2022.

Safeopedia. “Slips, Trips, and Falls (ST&F).” What are Slips, Trips, and falls? – definition from safeopedia, safeopedia.com, March 2019. Accessed 12 September 2022

Mike Mozart from Funny YouTube, USA, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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