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Slips, Trips & Falls in the Workplace

November 1, 2013  (*Administrative Office)

Monticello, IA – Slips, trips, and falls constitute the majority of general industry accidents. They cause 15% of all accidental deaths, and are second only to motor vehicles as a cause of fatalities. The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that workers’ compensation and medical costs associated with employee slip-and-fall accidents are approximately $70 billion per year.

Loss of productivity is often an unfortunate side effect. On average, workers who are injured as a result of a slip and fall accident spend more days away from work than those who are injured as a result of other causes. Most troubling, nearly 30 percent of same-level falls result in more than 21 workdays lost. And the problem certainly goes beyond a loss of productivity. The National Safety Council reports that slips and falls are the leading cause of death in the workplace and the cause of more than 20 percent of all disabling injuries.

When considering workplace falls, most people immediately think of falls from a height, yet, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the majority of fall-related injuries (65 percent) occur as a result of falls from same-level walking surfaces. And the problem is especially troublesome in specified industries. Of particular interest, the services, wholesale, and retail trade industries together accounted for the greatest proportion of injuries that resulted from same level falls (over 60 percent), while the manufacturing sector alone accounted for 16 percent of injuries that resulted from same-level falls.

The causes of slip and fall incidents are varied and include:

  • Walkways that are wet, oily, or otherwise contaminated
  • Floor surfaces that are in disrepair
  • Loose or unanchored mats or rugs
  • Spills
  • Weather hazards (such as ice, rain or snow)
  • Lack of employee training
  • Inappropriate footwear.

OSHA sets forth the following regulations for Walking-Working Surfaces Standard:

  • All places of employment, passageways, storerooms, and service rooms shall be kept clean and orderly and in a sanitary condition.
  • The floor of every workroom shall be maintained in a clean and, so far as possible, dry condition.
  • Every floor, working place, and passageway shall be kept free from protruding nails, splinters, holes, or loose boards.
  • Aisles and passageways shall be kept clear and in good repair with no obstruction across or in aisles that could create a hazard.
  • Permanent aisles and passageways shall be appropriately marked.
  • Where mechanical handling equipment is used, aisles shall be sufficiently wide.

Take the proper steps to help eliminate Slips, Trips, and Falls at your business or place of work.

Reference: "Slips, Trips & Falls in the Workplace." ISSA. ISSA, n.d. Web. 31 Oct 2013.<>.

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