Preparing for and Preventing Slips and Falls in the Workplace

Slips and falls in the workplace are one of the more common ways employees get injured. This leads to potentially serious injuries, not to mention paying more for workers’ compensation, and having incident reports to file. If you want to reduce how often slips and falls occur at your company, it starts with educating your employees on being more careful and developing a good prevention strategy.


Common Causes of Slips and Falls


There are many different ways a slip or fall can occur, from a simple trip to falling off a ladder. The following are some of the more common ways slips and falls occur in the workplace. Use this list as reference of what to avoid to reduce injuries in the workplace.


  • Wet surfaces and spills
  • Weather conditions like rain, sleet or snow
  • Oily surfaces
  • Poor traction on the floor’s surface
  • Rugs or mats which are slippery or loose
  • Wood dust on dry floors
  • Cables or cords not covered
  • Improper carpeting
  • Messes, clutter, boxes and other objects in the way of the walkway
  • Poor or obstructed view
  • Bad lighting
  • Uneven surfaces
  • Pine needles or leaves
  • Metal surfaces
  • Ramps that don’t have skid-resistant surfaces


How to Reduce or Prevent Slips and Falls:


Next, you should take some important steps to prevent these slips, falls, trips and injuries from occurring. These tips are helpful to reduce injury, and good practices overall in the workplace.


Reduce slippery surfaces. One of the main reasons a slip or fall occurs, is because the walking surface is too slippery. This may be from weather bringing in snow or rain, spills not cleaned up quickly, or food preparation areas that get wet. Keep surfaces as dry as possible and clean up spills immediately. If it raining or snowing outside, placemats near the doors and be sure they have good traction so they don’t slide around. Use anti-skid paint in areas where oil is present.


Practice ladder safety.  If employees use a ladder, preventing falling is essential. Teach them ladder safety tips, including never using a ladder that is rickety or has loose steps, and is always placed on a level, dry surface. Make sure it is opened completely and locked in the right manner, and that the person using the ladder has clean and dry shoes.


Reduce tripping. To reduce tripping, start by being sure the workplace is always clean and free of obstruction. Rugs and carpets should not be loose or have kinks, as this is a common reason an employee trips. Reduce any obstacles that are in the way, and pay attention to areas where people tend to misstep; this is an indication of a potential injury from tripping.


Have proper lighting. Another reason an employee might slip or fall is from poor lighting. Inside and outside work areas should always have adequate lighting, whether they are working days or nights. Make sure all work areas are well lit, including staircases, offices, hallways, entrances and exits, basements, and warehouses.


Aside from following these tips to keep your workplace safe and help prevent injuries from slipping or falling, have adequate workers’ compensation insurance. This insurance policy helps cover medical costs if an accident occurs during work-related tasks.