Slips and trips are the second most common cause of injury in health care. Each year, slips and trips account for 10% of all injuries to health care workers. Food service workers are at greatest risk of sustaining an injury due to slipping or tripping, followed by care and nurse aides, and home care workers, according toBritish Columbia’sWorksafeBCagency.
A slip occurs when there is too little traction or friction between the shoe and walking surface. A trip occurs when a person’s foot contacts an object or drops to a lower level unexpectedly so they are thrown off balance.
Significant causes of slips and trips in health care are:
- Slippery/wet surfaces caused by water or other substances such as bodily fluids
- Discarded or dropped materials on walking surfaces
- Cords or hoses on the floor
- Uneven surfaces, sudden changes in floor or ground level, obstacles in walkways
- Unanchored or uneven mats
- View forward obstructed by the materials (or patient) handled by the person
- Footwear with soles not appropriate for the walking surfaces; footwear is loose/poor fitting
- Personal factors (distractions, physical condition)
Here are some simple ways to reduce your risk of a slip, trip and fall incident:
• Good housekeeping – keep work areas clean and free of spills or debris. Draw attention to spills immediately and clean up. Report and/or remove any debris as soon as practical.
• Wear proper footwear – anticipate environmental conditions (ice, snow, rain) and working environment, use footwear that reflects these conditions. Maintain your footwear properly and replace when necessary.
• Change light bulbs as needed – report flickering or burnt out lights to ensure properly lit working areas.
• Use a flashlight – if walking through or working in a dim environment, bring your own source of light to help you identify hazards. Know your building’s emergency lighting systems and where emergency flashlights are found.
• Be a careful carrier – don’t carry a load that will obstruct your view while walking and make sure that you have a path of movement before picking up large objects.
• Take your time – if you anticipate slip or trip hazards, walk with caution and make wide turns at corners.
• Learn to walk – adjust your speed and pace to the walking surface; use rails or other stable objects to help you balance; walk with your feet pointed slightly out, keeping your center of balance under you; use your feet as probes to detect possible slip and trip hazards.
If you drop it, pick it up. If you spill it, wipe it up.
Look where you are going, and go where you are looking.
http://www2.worksafebc.com/i/posters/2004/WS%2004_03.htm Worksafe Bulletin fromWorksafeBC (Canada)
http://www.uwsp.edu/ehs/STF%20Handout.pdf Univ.Wisconsin safety handout
http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2011-123/pdfs/2011-123.pdf STF Prevention by CDC/NIOSH